LGWCD Amends Culvert Policy To Save Money, Mowers And More

The Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District Board of Supervisors on Monday amended its policy to no longer require end walls on culverts 18 inches or less, as long as the culvert extends at least 2 feet out.

LGWCD Administrator Stephen Yohe said that culverts 18 inches and smaller are sufficient without an end wall as long as the culvert extends 2 feet beyond the canal bank. He explained that during mowing of canal banks, the operator can see the pipe and avoid damaging the pipe.

“The problem with end walls is the operators damage both the mower and the end wall when they hit the end wall,” Yohe said. “The other advantage of not including an end wall is $1,500 to $2,000 in cost savings.”

District staff discussed the subject with engineer Jim Noth, vice president of Erdman Anthony of Florida, who confirmed that it is common practice to extend pipes beyond the edge of the bank without an end wall.

Supervisor John Ryan said he understood that the original intent of the policy was to cut the culvert and pour the end wall to follow the slope of the canal bank so that the operator could mow over them without damage — and a vehicle that goes off the road is directed over the end wall instead of being stopped abruptly.

Yohe agreed, but since the construction is an expensive process, he said it is really overkill for culverts 18 inches or less.

“There could be some areas, particularly at intersections, where it is warranted,” Yohe said. “As district administrator, I would recommend that, in particular if we were having a discussion with the district engineer in those cases, but 99 percent of the time, you don’t need an end wall.”

Supervisor Don Widing made a motion to approve the policy amendment, which carried 5-0.

In other business, Yohe said that at the last Intergovernmental Committee meeting on Jan. 15, it was reported that F Road improvements by the new Groves Medical Plaza were complete, and the district released the $132,827 provided by the developer to assure the construction.

Yohe said preparation work was also discussed for Bryan and Compton roads and Marcella Blvd. before resurfacing. He said the town had also issued a notice to proceed to the district to replace a culvert at F Road and Compton Road, and the district is ordering materials to expedite its installation.

Ryan pointed out that the project has been fully coordinated with the town and the town’s engineer will be responsible for monitoring and final approval. Yohe said that the district is the contractor on the project and agreed that the town will do the final inspection.

Widing said that with past experiences on those roads, he wanted to make sure the district had someone on site who understands the application process for open graded emulsion mix, although the town, not the district, is contracting the resurfacing.

“I want to make sure that we have somebody on site who understands the application process for that material,” Widing said, explaining that the district had had a compete load of the emulsion removed because it was not the right mixture. “The contractor had put some shell rock in. I don’t want to belabor that, but the point is we’ve got to have somebody there who understands the process.”

Yohe said the town has a 14-year veteran engineer who is familiar with the process, but Widing said he would like to have someone from the district on hand with experience in that type of work.

Yohe also reported that the new long-reach backhoe received by the district on Jan. 21 is currently excavating full-time at the North E Road Canal.

That project is subject to a 75 percent reimbursement under a USDA agreement.

A notice was sent to the Loxahatchee Groves Landowners’ Association and the town’s Roadways, Equestrian Trails & Greenways Advisory Committee to advise that the E Road Canal equestrian trail is temporarily closed during the excavation. The notice was also posted on the district and town web sites.

Yohe said district staff had met with USDA engineers on Feb. 6 to review progress on the project agreement, and USDA representatives recognized that the district will not be finished with a related excavation project on North Road by the end of the extended project agreement deadline of March 18 and is amenable to supporting an additional 90-day extension.