Loxahatchee Groves Council Gets Ready To Repair OGEM Roads

The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council agreed Tuesday, Oct. 6 to have town staff prepare a scope of work for patching and paving OGEM roads that have fallen into bad disrepair. However, it will probably take more than a year to catch up on the work due to costs.

Years of neglect to the lettered roads, paved with open-graded emulsified mix (OGEM) by the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District before it became dependent to the town, coupled with inadequate drainage before paving, has left many portions of the roads with dangerous washouts and potholes, rendering them impassible in some areas.

“There are several different ways of repairing the OGEM roads,” Public Works Director Larry Peters said. “The first method is to saw cut, remove the unsuitable material, compact the base and patch it with two inches of asphalt. That’s $110 per square yard.”

Peters estimated there is about 3,000 square yards of work to be done, producing a printout, photographs and quotes from contractors of work proposed to be done for a total of $330,000.

Councilwoman Laura Danowski pointed out that the report indicated that drainage improvements are needed at many of the deteriorated areas.

“The roads need to be fixed,” Danowski said. “Part of the reason that the roads need to be fixed is [the lack of] drainage. Shouldn’t we be looking at drainage costs before fixing road surfaces?”

Mayor Lisa El-Ramey said she felt the roads are in such bad condition that they need to be fixed whether they drain or not.

“We can’t sit here waiting while it continues to degrade,” El-Ramey said.

Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia said she did not want to be repairing roads during the busy season when there are lots of vehicles on the roads.

Danowski said the council has allocated $90,000 for OGEM repair, which would cover less than a third of the projected repairs.

El-Ramey said that $200,000 is set aside for more road rock next year and proposed moving that to OGEM repair.

Maniglia agreed with El-Ramey that the town should send out for bids to cut and patch, as well as move the $200,000 for road rock to OGEM repair.

“We could go back to the road rock project later on,” she said. “These people have been paying an additional assessment on these OGEM roads.”

Town Manager Jamie Titcomb pointed out that the town saved a lot of money on its recent pilot project by having town staff do much of the preparation work.

El-Ramey said that some of the money could be spent on sealing portions of the roads that were supposed to be done, thereby preserving what is left.

Councilman Robert Shorr said that about $500,000 remains in the town’s surtax fund collected from Palm Beach County that could be used to completely repave A Road, which accounts for more than half of the scope of repairs. He also agreed with having town staff help with some of the prep work.

The council agreed to have staff prepare a scope of work that the town could afford and bring back a proposal to the council’s Tuesday, Oct. 20 meeting.