Nearly eight miles of city roads are expected to receive utility and resurfacing repairs by October 2017.
On Monday, Feb. 27, the City Commission authorized $6.6 million for utility and resurfacing repairs to 7.78 miles of city-maintained roads. The roads include collector and neighborhood streets, and repairs are expected to be completed by October 2017.
For City Commissioner Mike Sparkman, these repairs — the most he said the city has spent at once in years — is much-needed relief for one of his long-suffering pet peeves.
“I think the public is tired of the government spending $50 million on a riverside park in Tampa, or spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars toward stadiums or other types of sports complexes for these prima donnas that don’t respect our country or don’t respect our nation,” Sparkman said. “I think the people are outraged for that reason, and I’m just so glad to see that we’re trying to take care of our basic needs. We do a great job on police and fire protection, and we’re here to take care of health, safety and welfare of our people. I’m proud of this commission for ... the stance we’ve taken tonight.”
Plant City currently maintains about 160 miles of roads, according to City Engineer Michael Schenk. Collector streets, which move traffic from local streets to high-capacity roads and provide access to residential properties, were selected based on the volume of traffic through the city. Neighborhood streets were selected based on pavement conditions.
City engineers also took to the roads to determine the pavement condition index (PCI) of roads to establish project priorities. According to Schenk, a PCI of zero is considered road failure, while a PCI of 10 is the equivalent of a newly paved road. An ideal rating is considered to be between seven and eight.
The road repairs, Schenk said, will consist of milling the road either between one and one half to two and one half inches in depth, sweeping the milled road and applying a tack coat, installing new pavement and respiring the roads.
The surface repairs are expected to cost about $2.6 million, using the city’s current street resurfacing capital improvement plan funding of about $2.7 million.
The scope of work is set to be prepared and approved by March, with bidding for the contracts to take place in May. If the Commission then approves the project and contracts, work would take place from June through October, according to the city’s engineering department.
What Lies Beneath
According to Utilities Director Lynn Spivey, many road issues go down to the sewer and utility systems beneath. Spivey’s office worked with Schenk’s to identify utility water and sewer repairs that should, they said, be completed before road repairs to maximize the life of the resurfaced roads.
“We don’t want to resurface a road and then have somebody come in and have to dig it up for some reason,” Schenk said.
City staff reviewed video footage of the sewer systems and worked with Killebrew Inc., a company specializing in sewage and utility, to come up with a feasible action plan.
“Underneath these streets we saw significant reasons for us to be able to go in and repair ahead of time,” Spivey said. In some cases, she added water was coming through pipes like a geyser. “That’s not a situation we like to see.”
Killebrew currently has a contract with Polk County that was awarded following the traditional design/bid/build structure. That traditional path, Spivey said, could take up to 17 months for Plant City, far outside the timeline for resurfacing. The Commission opted to award the contract to Killebrew off the already established, best-value contract the company has with Polk County.
Water and sewage repairs were estimated at $4 million. The Commission voted unanimously to use the $1 million currently available in the water and sewer capital project fund, along with a transfer of $3 million from the water and sewer fund’s reserves, to support the project.
“This vote ... is a vote of confidence that we love the program you’ve put together,” Mayor Rick Lott said. “We are confident in the staff in fulfilling the projections that you have, the timelines that were given to us. We just approved almost $6.7 million in improvements to our city. All these projects move our city forward to being a better city.”
“The fun part is now,” Schenk added. “We move forward to executing the plan and doing a good job.”
Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected].