Lox Contractor Restores Some Roads, But More Work Needed

Brian Thomason with Bergeron Land Development gave the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council a report Tuesday on initial improvements that his firm has made on town roads over the past two weeks.

Thomason said that the roads were in generally bad condition, and a lot of time was spent hauling in fill to raise the grade in order to reduce flooding. The town recently took over maintenance responsibility from the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District.

“What we wanted to do tonight was give a brief overview of what we’ve encountered since we’ve been on the ground and since we were activated on our contract back on Feb. 4,” he said.

Showing videos of some of the roads they rebuilt, he said that a 0.12-mile stretch of San Diego Drive was one of the first roads they undertook because they received a lot of comments about its condition.

“We video-documented every single road in the town before we did any work, so if there were complaints or issues, we could go back and review the videos and address those,” he said. “You can see the disrepair that San Diego was in.”

Thomason said eight dump truck loads of fill were used on the 0.12-mile stretch due to the state of disrepair.

“This road also is a dead-end road,” he said, explaining that they had to start at the end of the road and work their way back out toward B Road. “We could not just go in with loads of fill and dump that fill immediately and spread it without blocking access to the road in case an ambulance or fire truck needed to get in there, so it was somewhat time-consuming.”

Thomason noted that working through the road issues will take time.

“The demographics of the town somewhat prohibit us from moving as fast as we would like to,” he said. “However, we are moving in a fashion that is professional and getting the roads back to what we feel is a manageable state.”

After the fill was brought in, San Diego Drive was graded and brought to a crown and rolled, Thomason said.

Los Angeles Drive to the south of San Diego, by contrast, only had to be graded and rolled to bring it to a manageable condition, he said.

Casey Road was another street that needed a lot of fill to bring it up to grade, and needed special fill to soak up water that had accumulated on the road, he said.

“It was a very narrow road, and when we first got on Casey Road, it was very wet,” Thomason said. “There were some depressions there that were holding water.”

He said that the types of materials afforded under the current contract were not sufficient and asked to be allowed to use more expensive shell rock to combat the water pooling. Thomason called Town Manager Bill Underwood at 6 a.m. one morning to ask permission to use shell rock rather than limestone, because the limestone was turning to mud when it interacted with the water.

“That’s one of the reasons it took so much fill, and it was still wet, and even though we put the shell rock in, and we were able to grade it to a manageable state, there was still a little bit of an issue with the water pumping through because of the material that we’re dealing with,” Thomason said.

He added that the situation on Casey Road was aggravated by an area where land was clear-cut recently.

“That area is holding a tremendous amount of water, and it’s spilling back onto Casey Road, so it’s going to eat at the work that we’ve done,” Thomason said.

He said that the situation has also been heightened by the recent rains that have raised the water table.

“The fill material that’s being afforded to us is in a manner to make a first pass through the town to get them into what we feel is a manageable and cost-effective condition,” Thomason said. “Until we can get them up so they can be graded and can be properly drained, we’ll continue to have roads that are in disrepair. These are conditions that we are trying to correct as we face them.”

Casey Road, which is about three-quarters of a mile long, took 10 loads of fill in a combination of limestone and shell rock, he said.

“Luckily, on Casey Road, we were able to do it a little quicker because we could get more traffic in,” he said, adding that it is still holding some water on the edges due to the land clearing that took place, but that the water is draining from the crown.

Timberlane Place, a 0.119-mile stretch, took two loads of material due to the state of disrepair and large depressions, he said.

Thomason emphasized that the current road project is a first pass to get the roads usable, and that more improvement will be necessary to keep them in good shape.

“Honestly, with the material that we’re utilizing, and with the one pass that we’re going through now, if maintenance is not continued in a proper manner, we’re putting a Band-Aid on it because it will not be to the state that we need to be in to continue a proper maintenance program,” he said.

Thomason said he has consulted with other engineers regarding the proper mix of fill, including millings to create a better surface that requires less maintenance.

“This is our status report to the citizens and to the council of what we found and what’s going on out there in the real world,” Thomason said. “When we do our job, we do it properly and correctly, and we’re here to serve under the contractual obligation that we have.”

During public comment earlier in the meeting, several residents spoke about problems with deteriorated roads, and Town Manager Bill Underwood said regardless of the road conditions, drainage seems to be the underlying problem.

“The citizens and the council are going to have to address that issue, and that’s the one thing I’ve heard from everyone speaking tonight, is that the roads don’t drain,” Underwood said. “That is a problem.”