Indian Trail Improvement District Manager Rob Robinson went over a number of key issues last week during his report to the ITID Board of Supervisors, including keeping up with culvert replacements, completing the agreement with GL Homes for the 640-acre water storage area and lane improvements at local schools.
At the board’s Feb. 20 meeting, Robinson said that district staff had just finished up the GL Homes agreement, and ITID has four more years to complete the requirements of the 640-acre impoundment deal.
“I feel I need to start working on permitting, funding and implementation right now,” Robinson said. “I bring this up in the fact that we have five supervisors on this board who all have important issues they would like to have accomplished in their tenure. As district manager, it is my role to see that the direction given to me by the board is carried out to the very best of my ability. As a board, I ask for your confidence in my decision making to prioritize items based on life safety, flood control, maintenance and capital improvements for all these systems.”
Robinson said if a supervisor has an item to bring to the rest of the board for discussion on the agenda, he would like to know two weeks before the meeting so he can discuss it with the president, who sets the agenda.
“I know that things pop up at the last minute and are of high importance to the community,” Robinson said. “I’m trying to avoid a follow-up with my staff and our dedicated associates. We need time to research the item and gather all the necessary background information, vet it, publish it so the public and/or supervisors and my staff can do the research associated with it.”
Robinson said the Operations & Maintenance Department has finished the culvert inventory, and once the data has been completed over the next month, they will put together a master schedule for culvert replacement.
“The good news is there wasn’t the 600 I had first quoted when I was just looking at the survey maps that we had,” he said. “It turns out there are 400.”
However, it will still take decades to complete.
Robinson said he and his staff are organizing a second culvert crew utilizing existing staff with the same equipment strength.
“We will need to upgrade some of the older equipment for efficiency and economy, but not raise the number of rolling stock,” Robinson said. “Right now, we have enough that we can convert some of the resources from one of the [capital improvement crews], pull one or two individuals from maintenance, and actually strengthen the [capital improvement crew] into another full-blown culvert crew.”
Robinson said the culvert rehabs and replacements are time consuming and take a lot of material.
“We go down and re-stabilize the subgrade, bring everything back up… [in order to] build on a stable platform and concentrate on grading the swales and the alignment of culverts to proper elevations,” Robinson said. “That’s going to be key to getting this water where it needs to go.”
Robinson said that after a recent town hall meeting held by County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay — where many residents spoke about traffic issues in The Acreage — he was able to speak to County Engineer David Ricks, who pledged to double the number of traffic and street signs for the district to 50.
Robinson and ITID Engineer Jay Foy were also able to speak to McKinlay about vehicle stacking problems near schools.
“Personally, I don’t believe it should be on the backs of our residents to provide all this, so she asked me to reach out to [School Board Member Marcia] Andrews and see if we can’t come to a solution on this,” Robinson said.
ITID President Betty Argue said she spoke with Andrews and School District Chief of Facilities Management Wanda Paul about the problem, with no resolution.
“The bottom line is they have come back to say that despite what Marcia Andrews would like… they have said they cannot take dollars from their budget,” Argue said. “There’s nowhere that they can put to road improvements that are outside of construction of a school.”
Argue said part of the discussion is putting a turn lane the full length of Golden Grove Elementary School and Western Pines Middle School on 140th Avenue North.
“I’m still not clear, but it looks like we have what we need to do it,” Argue said. “The problem is we have to pay for it.”
Argue said she has a legal opinion submitted by ITID’s legal staff when the schools were built, that the district has the easement to build the stacking lane.
“Based on that, I was going to bring it up. We could put that in the R3 [road improvement plan] as doing the turn lane all the way through,” Argue said. “We’re going to keep getting from the School District, ‘We don’t have the ability to direct funds from our budget into doing this because it’s not new construction,’ and the county can’t pay for it because it’s not a county road.”
Robinson said traffic stacking problems are not just on 140th Avenue North.
“There’s issues in the morning on Orange Blvd.,” he said. “People are going head-on down the turn lane.”
While not addressing the singular issue of the road construction, Robinson said he has reached out on other possible solutions.
“We worked very well with them on the idea of putting up some signage out there, and it comes down to the parents being educated on how to properly drop off and queueing for that,” he said. “If we can just get the people off of Tangerine [Blvd.] and queued up along 180th [Avenue North], it would solve that problem, and we wouldn’t have stacking on a traveling roadway.”
Robinson said signage is posted with the statute prohibiting parking or stacking on the road, which empowers deputies to issue violations.
“I don’t know how many have been executed, but I feel strongly about that,” Robinson said. “It’s a school issue, and they need to make a commitment on this as well.”
Argue noted that Acreage Pines Elementary School is on a county road, Orange Blvd., and perhaps the county could address problems there.
“I think we do have a solution on those turn lanes,” she said. “We can include it in the R3 plan, if the board chooses… It just means that we have to pay for it.”