One of the major items that both residents and visitors agree upon is the need to address the deteriorating state of the roadways around the island. During the Septic Tank Replacement Program (STRP) many of the roadways in and around the island were repaved as part of that project, however the results of that work has proven to be questionable.
Motorists and bicyclist were critically outspoken about the poor conditions of the roadways. Bicyclists also questioned why the bike lanes have been so poorly maintained since their installation.
A number of residents have come forward to question the condition of the roads and the work that was done by that previous contractor during the STRP, and to demand that something be done. One of their main complaints was the sinking of roads around numerous manholes, especially on San Marco Road. Another complaint often heard was the “wash boarding” effect on a majority of the streets that were done during the STRP.
According to many roadway contractors this is caused, or was caused, by poor compacting of the road base prior to paving. This may have been a result of a lack of appropriate oversight of the hotly debated project. The roadway areas around the manholes have dropped as well as the lateral connections that run to residences that were required to hook up to the new centralized sewer lines.
The former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner even jokingly questioned the state of the roads: “What is going on with these streets around the island?” he said when he addressed the Caxambas Republican Club a few years ago. His comments drew a positive response from the attendees. Boehner and his wife are part time residents of the island.
During the 2014-15 budget cycle, then City Manager Roger Hernstadt established what became known as the “bucket plan.” This was an effort to provide for planned capital expenses such as the purchase of vehicles, capital equipment and the repair of roadways in a structured and scheduled manner. That plan was created in an effort to pay for those items with cash and eliminate the expense of borrowing of money. That budgeting plan was followed and roadway resurfacing was done in 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal years. It was the first time that residents saw streets and roads repaved since incorporation in 1998.
The 2016-17 budget saw another allocation of monies for that “bucket plan,” which included the continuation of the scheduled repairs and repaving of roads. However, when the approval of the allocation of those funds came forward in 2017, council chose to take another look at the structured plan and the prioritization of roadways to be repaved.
2018 would see the accumulation of the 2016-17 capital monies, those allocated in the 2017-18 budget, and included the rollover funds from savings during the 2014 through 2016 budget years.
Council moved forward at their March 19th meeting to resume the efforts to repave roadways around the island, which would include:
- San Marco Road from Copperfield to Heathwood, Templewood to Barfield and Barfield to Balmoral
- Tigertail Court from Collier Boulevard to Hernando Drive
- Kendall Drive from Collier Boulevard to Renard Court
- Residential Group 2-NE Island Quadrant (This includes North Barfield Drive, west of Collier Boulevard and related side streets)
That project was bid in January of 2018 with the lowest responsible bid awarded to Pavement Maintenance, LLC for the amount of $1,739,582.00.
Public Works Director Tim Pinter reported to council earlier this month that he estimated the actual work would begin sometime mid to late May.