Panama City, Florida Moves Forward with West 23rd Street Sinkhole Repair

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PANAMA CITY – City leaders have approved an engineering and inspection offer to repair West 23rd Street Plaza, more than a year after the partial collapse of the road during Hurricane Sally due to the failure drainage pipes.

In a recent meeting, the City Board awarded Panhandle Engineering, Inc. a $ 39,100 contract for the West 23rd Street Plaza Culvert Project.

In September 2020, part of Breezy Lane collapsed during the storm, due to pressure on pipes from excessive rainfall and flash floods. Traffic in the neighborhood has been temporarily diverted without signage control via the 23rd Street Plaza shopping center parking lot, while the crossing and culvert are “impassable.”

Related:Rainwater causes 23rd Street Plaza to collapse, city signals aging infrastructure

City manager Mark McQueen said the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently approved the project and explained why it took them a long time to get the project under control.

“So we took that responsibility, we take it, we took it to FEMA, they approved it,” McQueen said. “We finally got that, we’ve ordered the materials, we’ve already selected the contractor, which is BCL, and they’re building the other bridge just north of the one on Breezy Lane. ”

FEMA covers 75-85% of the entire project, with the city covering the remaining balance.

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Deputy City Manager Jared Jones said the city has already started planning for construction in the area.

“We are going to prepare the ground, do all the foundation work, we have already removed all utilities from the construction area and we will begin the actual construction of the box culvert,” Jones said. “Once it is delivered and all the basic work is done, this culvert will be installed. ”

Jones said the project is expected to start in the coming months.

“We’re halfway through the box culvert manufacturing process, we’re thinking about 8-10 weeks at this point,” Jones said. “So hopefully as soon as this is finished we should see construction start two weeks before that so that we can install the box culvert immediately upon arrival. ”

Drivers avoid a detour at 23rd Street Plaza on September 1, 2020. A section of the road was closed after heavy rains damaged a storm drain and the road collapsed.

The project is now at the mercy of delivery of the concrete culvert, which is being manufactured in central Florida, Jones said.

“Once it’s installed, they’ll start pouring the headwalls and then they’ll resurface the pavement,” Jones said. “It will be open for business. ”

Jones assured residents and businesses that the city is doing everything possible to move the project forward within a reasonable time frame.

“It’s going to be done soon and it’s going to be done the right way, so it’s not going to happen again,” Jones said. “It used to be built with corrugated pipes that corroded over the years and broke down. The way we come back with this design, even if it takes a little longer, it will be the right way to do it and it will last a lot longer.

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