Last August, the city commission approved a project that would improve the drainage as well as add new bricks at the intersection of 8th Avenue and Main Street in downtown Safety Harbor.
This week, they voted to do it again.
Issues with the sand and base material between the bricks led to numerous warranty repairs over the last year, but the recent deluge of rainfall due to Hurricane Hermine and other summer storms led officials to consider a more drastic fix at the heavily traveled intersection.
“The Main Street and Eighth Avenue brick intersection was originally constructed in 2007,” city engineer John Powell told the commission when the agenda item came up on Monday night. “And since that time, it has continued to require repairs.”
“In 2015, the intersection was redesigned to try to minimize the maintenance required by creating some slope on the roadway to get the surface drainage off of it and to thicken the base material,” he added. “Since that time, there still has been some displacement of sand material.”
Powell went on to explain that despite the numerous repairs, the problems persisted, so officials wanted to seek a more permanent fix.
After searching for solutions and soliciting quotes from contractors, the city came up with several options, including: removing the bricks and putting a polymeric, or more adhesive, sand down before replacing the existing bricks; removing the bricks, laying the special sand, and then installing new, thicker bricks that minimize displacement; or replace the entire brick intersection with stamped asphalt.
After discussing the suggestions, the five commissioners unanimously agreed to go with the thicker-brick fix.
“Back in 2007 when we came up with the idea of the brick intersections, the idea was to kind of have a nice look at each intersection and also slow traffic down when they hit the bricks,”Mayor Andy Steingold said.
“So I would advocate for…sticking with uniformity and keeping it all the same.”
“I’d prefer to keep the look rather than asphalt the whole thing,” Commissioner Janet Hooper said. “I think it helps slow down traffic…and that’s a good thing.”
The lowest estimate the city received for such a repair was $28,368, plus a 10-percent contingency, from Artistic Pavers & Surfaces in Clearwater.
According to the city, the FY 2016/17 budget includes $20,000 for citywide brick street restoration; the rest of the money would come out of CRA funds.
Work on the project is not expected to begin until officials have had a chance to discuss the repair schedule with the contractor as well as merchants in the area.
Minor traffic delays can detours can be expected throughout the duration of the project, which was completed ahead of its three-week timeframe last year.
Also on Monday, the commission approved an emergency road repair agreement in the amount of $49,107.70 to address roadway structural losses related to the rains in several areas of the city.
The city is seeking full reimbursement for the cost of the work from FEMA, according to officials.
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