BROOKSVILLE — Bare-bones budgets or not, the steady deterioration of the city's streets and sidewalks has long been a concern of Brooksville residents. But the question of where to begin the work and how much it will cost has been something of an unknown factor.
Last December, the City Council voted to adopt a pavement management program, beginning with a $91,000 commitment to do a thorough inventory and analysis on the city's rights-of-way, including asphalt and brick streets, sidewalks and signage.
Last month, Bob Titterington of Civil-Tech Consulting Engineers delivered a preliminary verdict that most members of the council already knew: The city at some point will have to address and commit money to a long-term program of repair and restoration of its transportation system.
Although the street and sidewalk study won't be completed later this month, Titterington said a preliminary analysis of the city's brick streets, some of which date back to the horse-and-buggy era, showed significant deterioration in several areas.
Of the 2.19 miles of cobblestone, Titterington said, none of the streets measure up to modern driving standards due to gaps, base settlement and joint erosion. In fact, half of the streets were found to be in poor condition or worse, with Daniel Avenue, Florida Avenue and W Early Street receiving the lowest ratings.
The 39 miles of paved streets that have been catalogued are in varying degrees of condition. But Titterington said that a preliminary analysis showed several streets in south Brooksville — including portions of Decatur Street, Hale Avenue and Garland Avenue — have deteriorated to a point that major repairs will be needed to bring them up to standard.
"Roads that are that bad will probably need complete reconstruction," Titterington said. "And that can very expensive."
Although the city committed $300,000 to repairs of streets and sidewalks, City Council members learned last year that it's only a drop in the bucket of what is needed to bring the city's transportation system up to par.
Considering Brooksville's current financial condition, it's doubtful the city will launch into any large-scale paving projects anytime soon. However, Vice Mayor Lara Bradburn has recommended to fellow council members that they consider using a portion of the proceeds from the city's red-light camera program to pay for repairs and restoration.
"It's a huge safety concern," Bradburn said. "Unless we commit the necessary resources soon, we'll be looking a much greater problem later."
Funding for the pavement management program will be discussed further as the city develops its 2012-13 budget.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.