The City Commission Monday approved 32 roadway projects for the second year in a row, featuring more than $6 million in roadway investments.
The City Commission Monday voted unanimously to undertake one of the most ambitious street repair programs in its history, adding 32 new road projects to its ongoing schedule of resurfacing.
The 2018 resurfacing project will repave about 16 miles of roads at a price of more than $6 million in 2018, using the $1.9 million raised by the recent one-mill hike in the city’s property tax rate as well as $2.2 million from the city’s street fund and $2 million from a Hillsborough County matching grant.
“It honors the pledge that the Commission made to the public last year in enacting the one-mill increase and dedicating that to road resurfacing,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said. “What you’ve seen presented will be accomplished by September 30 of 2018…this plan also paves almost 16 miles of roads in our city this year. On top of the roads that are already being paved or about to be paved under last fiscal year’s funding in the utility resurfacing project, I believe that puts us well over 20 miles of roads resurfaced between last year and this year.”
In 2017, the Commission selected more than seven miles of roads to be resurfaced. Many of those roads also needed utility repairs. According to the city’s engineering department, fixing longstanding utility issues beneath the streets in conjunction with resurfacing helps extend the life of the roads. Unfortunately, it can also be more costly and time-consuming, McDaniel said, which is why a few of last year’s streets are still awaiting repairs.
Under this year’s plan, only one street, Woodrow Wilson, needs utility services. McDaniel said the streets selected for this year’s project were carefully picked for ease of completion in 2018, even with the water services needed for Woodrow Wilson Street.
In addition to the resurfacing, City Engineer Mike Schenk said the project will remedy other issues on three of the roads including widening Drane Street, edge repairs to Hitchcock Street and a full-depth resurface of Timberlane Drive to fix a troublesome drainage issue.
The road repairs are part of dramatically increased efforts to address the city’s oft-bemoaned streets. It was only a few years ago, commissioners recalled, that the city would only spend about $300,000 a year on roads. That later increased to $1 million, then soared to the significantly increased push for nearly $6 million per year. With that level of funding, the city will be able to maintain what it sees as the ideal cycle of repairing every one of the city’s 160 miles of roads on a 15-20 year cycle.
Commissioners remark that the condition of the city’s roads is the most frequent complaint they get.
“The one question I get in Walmart and Publix is (about) Alexander,” Commissioner Mary Mathis said. “I went to the doctor today and my doctor asked me about Alexander Street. We get that every day.”
Though Alexander Street is now under control of the Florida Department of Transportation, it, too, is being resurfaced in 2018. Between the FDOT investments in Alexander Street and Sam Allen Road’s widening and the city’s own investment, about $30 million is being put into the roads of Plant City in 2018, touching nearly every corner of the city from Walden Lake to Lincoln Park.
The bulk of the city-run resurfacing is expected to occur between June and September and Alexander Street is scheduled to be repaved around August or September.
“I’m just gonna be excited come June, July, August when I hear from citizens about how mad they are that they can’t get around town because there’s so much road work going on. I’m looking forward to that day,” Commissioner Nate Kilton jokingly told commissioners and city staff. “Thanks to staff, I know how hard you’ve all been working on this and how important it is to make this investment in Plant City.”