Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Heavy rains wreak havoc on Plant City roads

Torrential rains have played havoc with Plant City roads, but the worst of the damage may occur when the water table recedes.

Engineers are looking to make major repairs on Wedgewood Drive and Wedgewood Court in the city's Walden Lake community. Other upgrades are needed on Maki Road, Vermont Street, Wood Court and Silvermoon Drive. That doesn't count dozens of other streets plagued by potholes.

The culprit is water and in most cases it's been bubbling under the road surface for months, even years, weakening the layer of compacted limestone that supports the asphalt surface and allowing the road to crack.

Higher-than-average rainfall has made matters worse. The city endured 50 inches of rain this spring and summer, about 12 inches more than usual. City engineer Brett Gocka estimates calls for pothole repairs are up 25 percent compared to a year ago.

Even more bad news might be brewing as the rainy season departs and city streets dry out and start to contract.

"We'll begin to see the full extent in a couple months," city manager Greg Horwedel said.

For two years, Wedgewood residents have noticed cracking and deterioration of the asphalt surface. They attributed the problem to a broken pipe, but instead it seems topography and drainage problems are more to blame, said Gocka, who evaluated a recent consultant's report that examined the problem.

Gocka and city commissioners haven't decided how to tackle the Wedgewood issue.

One alternative is to build a network of drains and pipes beneath the road, then replace the limestone subsurface with a rigid concrete-asphalt bed. Making those repairs, which include new pavement and curbs, could take two months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ray Page, president of the Wedgewood Homeowners Association, said the road started cracking three years ago. The street is dotted with places where potholes were filled in. At some larger cracks, water can be seen bubbling up through the asphalt.

"This is a nice neighborhood and people are concerned about their homes and their properties, and I don't blame them," said Page, 70, who retired to Wedgewood Drive from New Jersey 13 years ago.

Horwedel said city commissioners will meet in a couple weeks to prioritize streets that need minor repairs. Then, in about a month, officials will set out to prioritize roads that need major reconstruction, such as Wedgewood Drive.

Officials trying to schedule the work will consider how much use the roads get, the extent of damage and the cost of the repairs. Gocka hasn't yet figured out the costs to repair Wedgewood Drive and Wedgewood Court. He'll know in a couple weeks. The streets provide access to 26 homes in Walden Lake.

"The streets in Wedgewood always seem to be wet, and with the summer we're having, it hasn't helped the situation," said Tom Daramus, general manager at Walden Lake. "Hopefully, the city can come in here and fix the problem."

Rich Shopes can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2454.

Comments
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Angels game

* It's always interesting to think of how many amazing plays you see made in a game, then often a simple one — such as the fourth-inning comebacker to Rays RHP Matt Andriese — gets messed up and costs teams heavily, as that led to two run...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

Rays journal: Pitching plan works, until Sergio Romo leaves in second inning

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine Sunday for the Rays.It was the less-effective pitchers who followed, plus the ineffectiveness of their h...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

WINNIPEG — The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the Stanley Cup final — with a chip on their shoulder."Everybody on this team has something to prove," forward Ryan Reaves said. "We call ourselves 'The Golden Misfits' for a reason. We're ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

What a long, strange and winning road trip it was for Rays

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The nearly Yanny-vs.-Laurel level national debate over their latest pitching strategy innovation of starting relievers isn't quite as entertaining today. The In-N-Out burgers in the clubhouse after the game weren't as tasty. T...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Chief US hurricane forecaster: Education key to storm prep

Chief US hurricane forecaster: Education key to storm prep

WEST PALM BEACH — The new U.S. National Hurricane Center director says learning about specific storm hazards is key to preparing for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. Ken Graham leads the U.S. government’s hurricane forecasting hub in Miami. At...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Unveiling for

Unveiling for "Fortune Taylor Bridge" marker rained out, but celebration continues indoors

TAMPA — There’s a saying that everyone dies twice, Tampa City Council member Guido Maniscalco said Sunday: Once when they take their last breath. And again the last time someone mentions their name.So in this case, he said, the name "Fortune Taylor" ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

TALLAHASSEEFlorida districts fight charter school lawEleven school districts in Florida are refusing to give up their legal battle over an education law that steered more money to charter schools. A Leon County circuit judge in April threw out the la...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Taggart delivers a bolt to area

Taggart delivers a bolt to area

TAMPA — After spending four years as USF’s football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it’s no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," he sai...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as USF's football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Venezuela elections draw protests

Venezuela elections draw protests

Photos by Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesMarcos Carbono, center, joins with others in front of the Consulate General of Venezuela in Miami to protest the Venezuelan elections taking place on Sunday. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seems to be set to win ...
Updated: 5 hours ago