Federal grants help Melbourne recover

Nov 13, 2008

Florida Today--November 12, 2008


Melbourne pulled in nearly $2.2 million in federal funding for projects aimed at preventing erosion damage resulting from Tropical Storm Fay.

The money from a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will pay for about 75 percent of three projects at sites where Fay’s water caused a waterline break, one road collapse and another road to be undermined.

Two of the projects will go before Melbourne City Council tonight. Last month, the council approved a contract for another project.

The erosion control measures are just a portion of plans to prevent damage similar to that the city experienced during the tropical storm that dumped more than 2 feet of rain. Other measures would prevent the damaging floodwaters from rising.

“This isn’t going to prevent flooding, but it’s going to protect from damages caused by flooding,” City Engineer Jenni Lamb said.

The three projects selected for the grant were on the city radar as needing improvement and the city had already allocated some funding for two of them in this year’s budget, Lamb said.

“If we can use our money and leverage it to get more federal money, it’s more beneficial to get those projects done now,” she said.

The funding will pay for the following projects, which must be completed within 120 days, according to the grant.

# Edgewood ditch: Flooding undermined part of Edgewood Drive, leaving a guardrail hanging in the air.

The $1.8 million project will install gabions, a type of erosion control that uses large rocks held in place by wire baskets.

The project was not initially funded in this year’s budget, but the city will use reserve funds from the Stormwater Utility Department, plus money that was slated for a stormwater project in the downtown area.

Both projects would protect Crane Creek, preventing sediment from making its way into the creek and then the Indian River Lagoon, Lamb said.

City council awarded the contract to install the gabions last month to Melvin Bush Construction, Inc. of Port St. Lucie.

# North-South Terminal Canal: Erosion broke a 20-inch water main near the canal that runs between Melbourne Central Catholic and the Islamic Society of Brevard, Lamb said. The damage threatened a Florida Power & Light transmission line, which would have cost $1 million to repair or replace had it been undermined, she said.

This project also will install gabions along the canal from Florida Avenue north about a quarter of a mile.

The city is working with the USDA to obtain another $625,000 grant to complete the northern stretch of the canal to University Boulevard.

City council will vote on awarding the contract to ATL Diversified Industries of Lake Worth.

# Dartmouth ditch culvert: During Fay, the culvert failed and caused a section of Country Club Road to collapse.

This project will cost $192,600. The USDA grant will pay $88,425 toward the work, but will not pay for work that needs to be done below the pavement, Lamb said. Don Luchetti Construction Inc. already was under contract with the city to repair a water main.

The city council will vote on a change order that would allow the contractor to install the culvert as well.