Thirty-two roads across Plant City will soon be repaved. The program is scheduled to be completed in September.
The wait is over. This week, Preferred Materials began paving six of 32 selected streets in Plant City.
The massive undertaking has a tight time frame so drivers should be prepared to have detours and delays as the sagging, pothole-filled and cracking streets are brought back to their high standard. Those selected for this round of resurfacing are in desperate need of more than a simple patch job and the city is anxious to begin the journey of restoring the roads to their former glory.
“This is a big deal for the city,” city manager Bill McDaniel said. “We’re very happy we have started. We began (on Monday) with Amberjack Boulevard and as of (Tuesday) it was nearly completed. There are 32 roads approved and we should be bringing back at least three more with some of the money we saved to bring the total up to 35 roads.”
McDaniel also wanted to remind residents that the city can only pave roads under its control. Though other roads, like Alexander Street, may require repair it is up to the state to begin construction. However, he said as of Monday the state had confirmed it plans to begin work on Alexander Street around the August/September mark.
When the city finalized bids the closing offer came in approximately $1.2 million less than prior bids, which allowed the city to select a few more roads it believed were in need of maintenance. It appears as if Airport Road and approximately one block of Knight Street and Pennsylvania Avenue between Baker Street and Reynolds Street will be repaired with the saved funds.
Airport Road has heavy traffic due to large trucks that go to the warehouses and the block between Knight and Pennsylvania will soon be home to a new medical center, which will heavily increase traffic in the area.
The road selection process has been underway for years. The plan began under former city manager Mike Herr, who held the position from 2014 to 2017. McDaniel related the process to “a complex algebra problem.” Once the funds were in place the city hired Kisinger Campo & Associates to assess each and every road in the city.
On May 10 the group presented a finalized pavement assessment publication, which color-coded each road according to its rating. Those that were considered to be in failed or poor standing were top priority for the city. However, that was simply the first step in the multi-phase process. Once the roads were all identified, the quality of the utilities under each road had to be considered.
“We wouldn’t want to pay all that money to pave the road just for the sewer to fail in less than a year, which would cause us to have to rip it up and start all over again,” McDaniel said.
Underneath the pavement lies an intricate weave of water lines, septic pipes and a “rat’s nest” of phone lines and power cables. Repairing such a complex system costs quite a lot of money.
“Grant Street, that’s a utilities paving project,” McDaniel said. “You see how long that’s taking. It’s also taking a lot of work. Between Grant, MLK, Franklin, Shannon, Walter and portions of Alabama that was $4 million in just utility work. Just utility work. And we have to do all of that ahead of time and then we pave the street over.”
A utilities assessment was done for the entirety of the city, which helped identify “low-risk streets.” The 32 roads selected by the city were those that were both in need of major repair and also considered low risk in terms of underlying utilities. McDaniel said it was the city’s goal to deliberately strategize so they would be fixing roads that they would not have to return to in less than two years because of a larger underground issue.
As the utilities continue to be slowly repaired those roads can later be revisited for repair. The 32 selected roads are broken into four groups, which are all planned to be completed by the end of September. There are two paving and milling crews, an edge repair of Hitchcock Street crew and full depth reclamation and re-contour of the surface for Timberlane Drive.
“We’re excited to get this process underway,” McDaniel said. “A lot will be going on in a short period of time, but the end result will be worth it.”