Cedar Key airport bids on the fence

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By Lou Elliott Jones

The project manager for the renovations at Cedar Key’s George T. Lewis airport received five bids for fencing required by the Department of Homeland Security and the two lowest bids were identical.

What to do? Flip a coin? Draw a card from a deck? Seek new bids?

Don Ramdass, associate program manager for Passero Associates LLC, asked the bidders to submit new bids. One declined to resubmit.

The winner: Commercial Fence Contractors at $93,300. The first round of bids ranged from $94,500 to $117, 218.

The award was approved by the Levy County Commission at its Tuesday morning meeting contingent on the state Department of Transportation providing the money to pay for it.

The fencing, which DHS originally wanted to be seven-feet high and topped with three lines of concertina wire, will now only be four-feet high and include $30,000 in landscaping to make it fit in with the residential community where the airport is located.

The cost of the project drew some laughter when Commissioner Mike Joyner of Morriston, (R-District 3), said he would like to see it when finished. “Iíve never seen a $100,000 fence before.”

County Coordinator Fred Moody said the fence is expensive because ìthereís a lot of itî as it runs along both sides of the runway.

Even though Runway 23 at the airport is the shortest paved runway in the state at 2,017 feet, Runway 5 is not much longer at 2,355 feet.

Moody said the fence must run along the runway length on both sides.

Richard Gilson, an aviator from Cedar Key †who did a presentation at the start of the meeting, told the commission the purpose of the fence was not so much for security as to keep people from wandering or driving onto the runway. County Road 470/Southwest 166th Street runs along the runway and is at times used as a taxiway. Pedestrians, runners, bikers and motorists have gone from the road onto the runway.

The DOT is funding the relocation and separation of the road from the runway with another grant. The grant will also pay for an erosion control project in the marsh at the Gulf end of the runway.

Ramdass said $67,000 was budgeted for the erosion project, but the low bid by Turnbull Environmental Inc., came in at $62,200.