Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 rshopes@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2454.

Heavy rains wreak havoc on Plant City roads 09/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 27, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries

    Blogs

    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.