Lox Council Gives OK For Paving, Drainage Projects

The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council approved a paving plan for Bryan and Compton roads and Marcella Blvd. Tuesday, approving its consulting engineer’s report but delegating several aspects of the project to the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District.

The town has an interlocal agreement with the LGWCD for road maintenance, and the council decided it could save money by assigning segments of the project, including grading and swale improvements, to the district.

The council again agonized over whether the plan as presented would qualify for a piggyback bid with a contractor that has done a similar project in Volusia County, but with fewer elements.

In December, the council voted 3-2 to approve resurfacing of the roads with open-graded emulsified mix (OGEM) on a piggyback contract, despite objections by some council members that the project should be advertised for bids. Town Manager Mark Kutney had recommended going through a bidding process rather than piggybacking the project.

At the time, the council also discussed the possible replacement of a deteriorated culvert on Compton Road. All three roads were paved years ago with county financing before the town incorporated.

On Tuesday, Randy Wertepny with Keshavarz & Associates presented a summary of each of the roads, beginning with Compton, which he said has three major design elements.

“We have our drainage components, which were added,” Wertepny said, explaining that drainage culverts are proposed for each of the 10 property owners along the road. “There is clearing and grading onsite. We’re going to get rid of some of those high areas, and then there is the resurfacing itself.”

Bryan Road had two components, grading and resurfacing.

“Bryan Road has swales; therefore, we are not proposing drainage improvements in the form of pipework, just re-grading some of the swales, in addition to the microsurfacing,” Wertepny said.

Plans for Marcella Blvd. are similar to those for Compton, including a proposal to remove tree islands from both roads.

“[Marcella] is in much better condition,” Wertepny said. “However, it was moderately pitched toward the south with a drainage ditch on the north, so drainage culverts were added with drainage to the ditch.”

Town Attorney Michael Cirullo asked whether the scope of repair is different. “There’s not one uniform design for these roads, so it’s three different road projects?” Cirullo asked.

Wertepny said the only difference is the small drainage culverts proposed for Compton Road.

“They could be bid all the same or they could be bid differently,” he said, pointing out that some clearing work will be necessary on all three roads, removing debris and exotic invasive species. “Water will flow much easier once we’re done.”

He added that some of the culverts are blocked, which will be in the plan’s scope of work.

Vice Mayor Ron Jarriel, who had been critical of getting an engineering consultant involved, preferring instead to piggyback a resurfacing project directly to a contractor, said he was impressed with the plan as presented because it stayed within what he thought were basic improvements.

“You kept it to the minimum requirements, to improve the road and take care of the drainage problems,” Jarriel said.

Jarriel noticed that the plan had proposed 10 drainage sites for Compton Road, which he felt was in the worst condition, but asked whether the number of culverts could be reduced to five.

Wertepny said with 10 culverts, each property owner on the road would be responsible for stormwater discharge, and Jarriel said he liked the concept.

“I look at Compton Road as a template for what we may be doing in the future in Loxahatchee Groves,” Jarriel said. “Everybody knows that we have a major problem with drainage. To put that in front of the residents where they have to basically get their water to that, but it allows them drainage, and the cost, with an 8-inch pipe instead of an 18-inch or 12-inch culvert, is reduced greatly. This might work for the rest of Loxahatchee Groves.”

Kutney said it is important to look at the scope of the work and whether it is appropriate for a piggyback procurement.

“The work scope involves five or six more elements than the Volusia piggyback would address, which becomes problematic,” he said. “It would appear on the surface that the piggyback wouldn’t work because of the additional scope of work.”

Cirullo said that if the council followed through on a piggyback procurement, the town would need to find other vendors for the other elements of work.

Kutney also pointed out that the project would be more than was originally budgeted, which could be addressed by moving money from other capital improvement projects.

The estimated costs by the consulting engineer are $89,891 for Marcella, $63,000 for Bryan and $101,000 for Compton.

Jarriel said that the LGWCD, which charges the town $50 an hour for road maintenance, could address most of the elements of the plan not in the piggyback contract, except for culvert installation, which he thought local contractors could do inexpensively.

Jarriel made a motion to approve the surfacing piggyback contract, which carried 4-1. Councilman Tom Goltzené dissented because he thought the job should be bid out.

Jarriel also made a motion to give the LGWCD a notice to proceed with hedging and grading on the roads, including removal of the tree islands, which carried 3-2 with Goltzené and Mayor Dave Browning opposed.

Jarriel then made a motion to publish an invitation to bid for the Compton Road drainage project, which carried 5-0.