Pass-A-Grille Construction Delayed, costing taxpayers money

St. Pete Beach leaders blame inaccurate blueprints
Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-03 17:37:52-04

Big delays are costing you time and money on the only road connecting all of us to Pass-A-Grille Beach. The project to replace aging pipes, sewer system and utility lines has fallen far behind schedule.

It's dusty, dirty, and at times, even difficult to navigate.

Amy Loughrey, a small business owner at Pass-A-Grille Beach can only describe it one way, “It just takes on that warzone persona when you see it. We weren’t expecting that.”

What Pass-A-Grille home and business were expecting: Work on Pass-A-Grille Way, the only road on and off the island, to wrap up in a few weeks from now. Instead, crews will be out working for several more months.

“It does make me want to cry, but I try to focus on the positive and what it will look like when it is all over,” Loughrey added.

After nearly two years drivers, homeowners and business owners have had their patience tested.

“When they dug the holes nothing was where they thought it would be so I think from the beginning it wasn’t going to happen the way we thought,” Loughrey explained.

St. Pete Beach city leaders say construction crews have been forced to redesign the project several times. The reason: blueprints they were working off of are so inaccurate, according to St. Pete Beach leaders, that they've had to restart on multiple occasions.

Michael Shaner has watched the crews work from his family's deli. "The workers come in and tell me they've found pipes not on the blueprints, watermains that weren’t supposed to be there, they've hit the electric a couple times. I know they're as anxious to get this project done as we are.”

Homeowners like Raymond Agia have watched as the contractors dug up the same holes multiple times. “It's a waste of money, a waste of time, plus the inconvenience and the cost. Every time they dig, it must cost money.”

The city recently sent out a memo telling homeowners “It is safe to say very little of this project has gone as expected.”

Shaner agrees, “It’s been a big pain in the butt.”

Construction on the first phase is expected to take at least until mid-July. Construction teams will then start on phase two from 19th Avenue down to 1st Avenue on Pass-A-Grille. 

City leaders say no matter how much everyone’s nerves are being tested, the work must go on to replace the aging sewer, pipes and water system and to keep the stunningly beautiful Pass-A-Grille looking as beautiful as it does. 

"It's a beautiful place and it will be even more beautiful when this is finally over," Loughrey said with a laugh, "assuming I'm still alive by then."