A year past its deadline, Fort Pierce road project nears summer completion

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St. Lucie County is a year behind schedule on the rebuilding on Second Street, the main road to the Port of Fort Pierce. KEONA GARDNER/TCPALM.COM
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FORT PIERCE — Rebuilding Second Street, the main road to the Port of Fort Pierce, is a year behind schedule but remains within budget, county officials said this week.

Work started March 2015 on the $7.4 million project to rebuild Second Street from Fisherman’s Wharf north to where the road dead ends. It includes upgrading gas, electric and sewer lines and building sidewalks and stormwater retention ponds.

Contractors missed their original deadline, last spring, because the work uncovered several wooden piers that had been built in the early 1900s and buried under the road, said Kyle Croce, county port engineer.

The piers were buried decades ago when muck was dredged from the Indian River Lagoon to create Indian River Drive, which replaced Second Street as the shoreline.

“This road is in one of the oldest parts of the city and county,” Croce said. “I think back then they had a different idea of construction standards.”

Crews also found a railroad track and abandoned utility lines that connected to the former HD King Power Plant, which was decommissioned about decade ago.

“We had to get in there and remove the things that shouldn’t have been there in the first place before we could start laying the utility upgrades,” Croce said.

The project is about half completed and expected to be done by early summer, Croce said.

This week, crews are building sidewalks; theyplan to start rebuilding the road in May, Croce said.

The Florida Department of Transportation is paying half the cost, $3.7 million, and the county and Fort Pierce Utilities Authority are paying the remainder.

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St. Lucie County and the City of Fort Pierce want to turn the 290-acre Port of Fort Pierce in to a mega-yacht repair center. KEONA GARDNER/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS
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Rebuilding the road to attract new businesses is a key component in the city/county plan to remake the 290-acre port, just north of downtown, and spark economic development to the northwest part of the city.

The County Commission acts as the Port Authority, but Fort Pierce’s planning and zoning rules apply because the port is in the city.

Both the city and county commissioners want to develop the 20-acre Harbour Pointe Park, at the north end of the port, into a mega-yacht refurbishing center to capitalize on the shortage on such facilities in South Florida. The county would retain ownership of the property but would seek a private developer to build and manage the center.

Port of Fort Pierce by the numbers

Source: Treasure Coast Newspapers research

Article source: http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/shaping-our-future/roads/2017/04/20/year-past-its-deadline-fort-pierce-road-project-nears-summer-completion/100476262/

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