Lox Groves B Road Improvement Plans Are Ahead of Schedule

The B Road paving project in Loxahatchee Groves is ahead of schedule despite delays in the completion of survey maps from the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District.

Randy Wertepny, with the town’s engineering firm Keshavarz & Associates, told the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council on Tuesday that they’ve made significant progress in the scheduling.

“We should be about halfway through the permitting process,” Wertepny said. “We have had some good luck with the permitting. We are nearly complete. The only outstanding thing right now is the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District. They are working very closely with us and being very helpful in getting the permit. We should have it by the end of the week or next week, so everything is ahead of schedule on that front.”

The next step will be the bid process, he said.

“We can be one to two months ahead of schedule right now,” Wertepny said, explaining that they must meet critical dates for the process to remain on schedule. “We will have to review the bids with enough time to present it for board approval. If we go to advertisement this Sunday, we could meet the March 1 board meeting. If not, it will be the April 5 board meeting.”

Due to the upcoming election, the council does not have a mid-March meeting scheduled.

Contract approval in March will mean construction will start in April, which will give a jump on the summer wet season, as opposed to starting in May, Wertepny said.

One more outstanding item that Wertepny’s team is working on is drainage easements, he added, explaining that they have verbal agreements with some property owners, while others have committed with certain conditions.

“They are wanting to work with us, it’s just a matter of if the plan works for them,” he said.

One property does not need a drainage easement, and they have not heard back from some owners. He said that they have mailed notices to the property appraiser’s certified address and tried to call if they could find a number.

Wertepny said Town Manager Bill Underwood has a list of the names in question and could provide them to council members in the event that they know the owners.

“If and when somebody does provide the easement, we can incorporate it into the plan during construction or prior to construction,” Wertepny said. “It’s a unit-based contract, so we can provide adjustments during the bid.”

Another potential is if the council decides to finish Collecting Canal Road as part of the process.

Wertepny’s firm is also considering submitting an alternate bid to the open-graded emulsified mix (OGEM) process currently used, which is 4 inches of rock and 4 inches of OGEM. The alternative would be a thicker base covered with asphalt.

“We’ll have the prices in the option, and then we might get lucky and get a slightly better deal,” he said.

A road closure will be necessary in order to remove the two bridges at Collecting Canal and B Road.

“The least amount of impact to the residents, we feel, is to close the road for a period of three weeks, and do both bridges at the same time,” Wertepny said. “We have spoken to a few contractors who believe this could be done in that time frame.”

A map of the detour plan has been sent to the LGWCD and will also be given to affected agencies, such as fire-rescue, law enforcement and school district officials, he said.

Vice Mayor Ron Jarriel pointed out that the developers at B Road and Southern Blvd. have finished the asphalt intersection to the college entrance with sidewalks, and there is only a bridle path planned going from Collecting Canal Road to the college entrance.

“I felt from the beginning that our residents who live on Collecting Canal Road don’t need to be walking in the road, and they don’t need to be walking on the grass. We have enough room to put a sidewalk with the bridle path,” Jarriel said.

He requested opinions from the council and Wertepny on how difficult it would be to install a sidewalk similar to the completed portion.

Wertepny said that there is enough right of way south of Collecting Canal, but not north of it. However, council members agreed that it might not be warranted for the amount of pedestrian traffic, although it will eventually lead to commercial centers.

Wertepny said that in the future, it could always be added.

Ken Johnson, a resident of Collecting Canal Road, said that he would rather see pavement on Collecting Canal than a sidewalk on B Road.

“We need the horse trail; I’m in favor of that, although I don’t have horses,” he said. “But as far as a sidewalk over there, I think we can spend our money on something else.”