Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

A plan for those dusty roads

BROOKSVILLE — Hundreds of miles of unpaved, lime rock roads snake through Hernando County's rural neighborhoods, frequently bringing complaints of choking dust and washouts.

At long last, county officials believe they have a solution.

Last week, the county began seeking bids for a provider of reclaimed asphalt, chunks of material from old road projects and other sources. The bids are due in less than two weeks.

The county had asked the Florida Department of Transportation for the asphalt millings that their roadwork will generate during future projects in Hernando and surrounding counties. But the DOT notified the county that the material has too much value to the state, and that the agency would not provide it to the county.

During Tuesday's County Commission meeting, county transportation services director Brian Malmberg will present a proposal to use reclaimed asphalt, if an acceptable bid is received, to replace the lime rock on five roads in four separate areas of the county.

County staffers would then monitor the condition of the roads, watching for the formation of potholes or ruts, checking to see if loose material is moving around or if the edges of the roads are degrading.

The plan would be to track all of the material and labor costs for a 12-month period, then report back to the County Commission with a summary of the process, cost, potential benefits and disadvantages.

"Overcoming the expense and availability of the material have been the major hurdles in utilizing (reclaimed asphalt pavement) on a mass scale,'' county staffers wrote in backup materials provided to the County Commission. "A reduction in long-term maintenance cost does look promising, however.''

Lime rock road maintenance is a big-ticket item for the county. In one recent five-year period, the county spent $10.65 million for maintenance — $4.4 million in labor and $4.2 million in materials, with equipment making up the rest of the cost.

County officials will pick roads for their experiment that demonstrate some of the challenges faced by Transportation Services. High-volume roads, roads with poor drainage, and roads with hills and valleys and sharp curves will be included.

The idea is to get enough information to determine the kinds of road conditions where the reclaimed asphalt will work, according to Steve Whitaker, assistant public works director.

"We wanted to put a little more precision into how we were evaluating the product,'' Whitaker said.

County commissioners, who have heard complaints from lime rock road residents for years, have long looked for a way to address the problem.

So have many residents. But none has pushed for the use of asphalt millings like Spring Hill resident Ty Mullis.

Several years ago, Mullis and his neighbors on Orchard Way decided to use asphalt millings and recycled cooking oil to reconstruct their own 1-mile stretch of road.

Since then, he has tried to convince county officials that the millings would not only solve the vexing problems of lime rock dust, but also save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance of the roads.

Mullis said he was thrilled that the pilot program is coming to the commission and that the county is seeking a provider. He said he has heard of someone in the Tampa area who is interested to providing the materials, possibly at a cost as low as lime rock.

"I see this as a tremendous step forward, and I'm convinced this is going to improve the quality of life for the businesses and homeowners who are on lime rock roads,'' he said. "And I truly believe it's going to reduce the cost for maintenance.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
Lightning watch party tonight for Game 6

Lightning watch party tonight for Game 6

Tampa Bay Lightning fans can gather to witness the team's possible clinching of a Stanley Cup final berth tonight in downtown Tampa.The watch party for Game 6 in Washington starts at 6 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.It will include three screen...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Softball: Scouting the Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll semifinal

Admiral Farragut (17-5) vs. John Carroll Catholic (11-11)When/where: 4:50 p.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got hereAdmiral Farragut defeated Naples St. John Neumann 17-0; defeated Bradenton St. Stephen's 3-1John Carrol...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75; persistent rain continues; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches

The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75; persistent rain continues; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• The week ahead sees rain and storm chances every day with highs in the lower to middle 80s, according to the National Weather Service. • As you head out for your morning commute, chec...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

TAMPA — Driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t just for the British any more under an innovative plan for moving traffic through three local Interstate 75 interchanges. Construction will soon begin on a $37 million, three-year proje...
Updated: 2 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Did Gwen Graham vote against President Obama 52 percent of the time?

PolitiFact Florida: Did Gwen Graham vote against President Obama 52 percent of the time?

A progressive super PAC slammed the congressional record of Democrat Gwen Graham as too conservative for Florida’s next governor.The Collective super PAC paid for the 30-second spot. The group supports black, progressive candidates and is backing Tal...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Hooper: Vote against the politics of division

My friend says instead of boycotting Publix, people upset about the company’s support of gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam should back voter registration drives and get more people to the polls.And when they register those voters, ask if they suppo...
Published: 05/21/18
Unveiling for ‘Fortune Taylor Bridge’ marker rained out, but celebration continues indoors

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: 1 hour ago
For Bolts radio duo, being fans at heart is key to their success

For Bolts radio duo, being fans at heart is key to their success

As the last tension-filled seconds of a tight playoff game wind down, high above the Amalie Arena ice, the play-by-play man becomes increasingly animated.Dave Mishkin, eyes bulging, face purple, jumps from his seat, holding the headset with his left ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Traffic lights restored at Pinellas Park intersection

Traffic lights restored at Pinellas Park intersection

PINELLAS PARK — Traffic lights have been restored at the intersection of 66th Street N and Park Boulevard, police said. About 5:45 p.m., Pinellas Park Police announced the outage. 
Updated: 2 hours ago