MANATEE COUNTY – Structural problems associated with the concrete seawalls at the Warner’s Bayou boat ramp have been discovered during renovations and will postpone the opening of the popular boat ramp two months. The ramp is now expected to reopen in late June.
Alan Lai Hipp, Manatee County Marine Resources Program Manager, said separation and cracking of several concrete seawall panels were noticed during dewatering in preparation for replacement of the launch ramp. The dewatering of the site exposed conditions indicating that both the launch ramp and seawall were nearing the end of their serviceable lifespan. The boat ramp, floating dock, fixed docks and 200 feet of seawall are being entirely replaced and upgraded.
“Most of the existing seawall is at least 25 years old,” Lai Hipp said. Recently, one of the panels on the north section of the seawall crumbled, revealing badly corroded steel reinforcing. “Band-Aid repairs may be possible but will do nothing to guarantee the wall’s structural integrity or extend the lifespan of the seawall as a whole. We don’t want to make long-term dock and ramp improvements to the boat ramp and only short-term repairs to the seawall.”
In addition, several trees located in close proximity to the seawall must be removed to allow the installation of new seawall cap tiebacks and concrete anchors.
The original project cost was budgeted for $728,600 but the scaled back project reduced the cost to $490,000. The new repairs will add $106,000 to the final cost and will be paid using Manatee County's Boating Improvement Fund and the West Coast Inland Navigation District.
Warner’s Bayou Boat Ramp is located at 5900 Riverview Blvd. It closed on Jan. 7, 2013 for renovations to increase the lifespan and functionality of the facility and reduce yearly maintenance needs.
During the closure, boaters may use alternatives such as Kingfish Boat Ramp at 752 Manatee Ave. W., Holmes Beach; the Palma Sola Causeway ramp at 9000 Manatee Ave. W.; or the Riverside Park Ramp at 833 Riverside Drive in Palmetto.
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