Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

New option for unpaved roads to be tested on Orchard Way

BROOKSVILLE — For years Spring Hill resident Ty Mullis has been on a mission — a mission to convince county officials that there is a better and cheaper alternative to limerock roads.

He has lobbied the state Department of Transportation to change its unpaved road standards. He has talked up the program to anyone who would listen.

He has used his own road, Orchard Way, as an example of how asphalt millings are a better alternative for unpaved roads.

Orchard Way was a project undertaken by his neighborhood. He and his neighbors purchased millings, improvised road building equipment, mixed the millings with reclaimed vegetable oil and paved a mile of their road themselves.

In the four-plus years since, the county has done no maintenance on Orchard Way.

But it may be about to.

Mullis learned this week that, on Tuesday the County Commission will consider Orchard Way as one of two test roads on which to use asphalt millings. Partly at the urging of Mullis, and also because of continuing complaints from people living along lime rock roads, the commission recently agreed to explore alternatives to the limerock used routinely to maintain 375 miles of unpaved county roads.

The other test road recommended is a section of Old Trilby Road from Baseball Pond Road to White Road.

Earlier this year the county sought bids for a supplier of asphalt millings, which come from road projects in which existing pavement is removed for repaving. DAB Constructors won the bid. In mid February, the commission agreed to a plan put forth by county engineer Brian Malmberg to use millings to upgrade a couple of roads over the next several years.

Transportation services officials could not be reached to comment Friday on how Orchard Way landed on the list, but last month assistant public works director Steve Whitaker said the plan would be to pick roads that represent various maintenance challenges due to high traffic, poor drainage, hills, curves and valleys.

The cost of completing and maintaining each test road will be tracked for 12 months and a report will be given to the commissioners.

Mullis has argued that multiple times a year, the county sends road crews to grade and add lime rock to unpaved roads, a costly process. In one recent five-year period, the county spent $10.65 million for maintenance of the unpaved, limerock roads.

And for that price, county officials have endured complaints about dust, ruts and potholes.

Maintenance on roads with asphalt millings would cost far less, Mullis said, and the county is aware of that because of its experience using millings on an unpaved road a few years ago.

Annual maintenance costs for Nodoc Road north of Silverthorn are $1,350 per mile, Mullis has figured from county transportation services information. The cost of maintaining limerock roads is roughly $4,200 per mile per year.

Millings for the two test roads would cost $25,900. The cost to have county crews complete the maintenance would be $5,114 for Old Trilby Road and $13,807 for Orchard Way.

Mullis said he didn't know why his road was chosen but "I'd be lying if I said I was disappointed.''

He had asked the county to consider Orchard Way for maintenance.

"I did lobby for it,'' he said. "Our neighborhood put money, effort and time into because it was our road and it hasn't been maintained in a long time.''

Mullis said he still wants people to understand that his mission wasn't just for Orchard Way, but for people on dusty limerock roads countywide. As a taxpayer, he said he would be happy to see the savings that the millings should produce.

But if the commission approves his road for maintenance, he will encourage neighbors to be at home to watch the work being done.

"That way we can all sit out on our front lawns, drink iced tea and watch someone else spread millings on our road,'' he said.

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

Comments

Pastor invites public to service at Manhattan Casino

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rev. Basha Jordan, grandson of St. Petersburg’s pioneer African-American businessman Elder Jordan, who built the historic Manhattan Casino, is inviting the community to join him and other pastors for a service at the facility on ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Celebration at Enoch Davis Center is Friday

ST. PETERSBURG — The Enoch Davis Center will host a free Black History Month celebration Friday. The program, which will run from from 6 to 8 p.m., will include activities for the entire family and food, entertainment, music and prizes. There will a...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — A man was rescued early Thursday morning after Hillsborough County deputies say his boat was swept away by a strong tide and capsized in the Little Manatee River.According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call was received ...
Updated: 13 minutes ago

Crescent Heights neighborhood working to save historic church

ST. PETERSBURG — The Crescent Heights Neighborhood Association says it wants to save one of the area’s historic buildings from demolition.The association says the American Baptist Church of the Beatitudes, at 2812 Eighth St. N, is being sold to a loc...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Goalie Maddie Rooney delivers gold medal performance for U.S.

Goalie Maddie Rooney delivers gold medal performance for U.S.

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Maddie Rooney couldn’t stop smiling. She was on top of her game, and it didn’t seem to matter that it was a shootout against the powerhouse Canadians. The first shootout in an Olympic women’s final. ...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
It turns out flamingos may have once called Florida home

It turns out flamingos may have once called Florida home

In 2015, Conchy the flamingo showed up at Florida’s Naval Air Station Key West, and he wouldn’t leave. Normally managers on the grounds lethally remove feathered troublemakers — it can be very dangerous with birds flying around million-dollar fighter...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays are adding players?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays are adding players?

The Rays signed veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year contract one day after trading Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona. In his latest podcast, Rick Stroud discusses reaction to the moves from players, as well as super fan Dick Vitale.Plus, the Bucs...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Amy Poehler, ‘Parks and Rec’ team in Twitter tussle with NRA and its ‘pro-slaughter agenda’

Amy Poehler, ‘Parks and Rec’ team in Twitter tussle with NRA and its ‘pro-slaughter agenda’

The NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation" was a show about the power of community and civic engagement that was created and run by outspoken gun lobby critic Michael Schur.It’s arguably not the best show for the National Rifle Association to reference on...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

Outback Steakhouse owner Bloomin’ Brands beats Wall Street forecasts

TAMPA — Bloomin’ Brands this morning beat Wall Street expectations in reporting fourth-quarter net income of $16.4 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier.The Tampa-based restaurant chain group — which includes Outback Steak...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Guest column: The time I asked Billy Graham if he ever gets sick of the Bible

Guest column: The time I asked Billy Graham if he ever gets sick of the Bible

The interview was not going well.There I was, in a coveted one-on-one meeting with Billy Graham in his home in Montreat, N.C., in August 1998. It took months to get this interview for the Tampa Tribune and WFLA-TV. The newspaper and the TV station ha...
Updated: 1 hour ago