FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County has millions of dollars’ worth of road resurfacing in its future and it has allocated $5 million to sooth the problem this year. With hundreds of roads in need of …
FLEMING ISLAND – Clay County has millions of dollars’ worth of road resurfacing in its future and it has allocated $5 million to sooth the problem this year. With hundreds of roads in need of resurfacing, where do they start?
The solution is a ranking system based on six criteria: oxidation of the asphalt, cracking of the asphalt, the cuts patches and potholes, the asphalt’s depressions and rutting, the “Ride ability” and overall traffic volume.
The lower the ranking, the worse condition the road is. For example, in the latest rankings on the county’s website, stretches of County Road 315C, Circle Ridge Drive and Water Mill Drive were given a score of 31 and a high priority from the Clay County Public Works.
Public Works Director Dale Smith said significant wear on roads is expected after a few decades. Roadways and intersections are worn by frequent stopping and starting and from petroleum products. Florida receives a high amount of water – an average of 52 inches of rainfall per year – which seeps under base of roads and eats at the base of a road, he said.
“For a local road, you get 25-30 years max before you have to resurface it, because asphalt roadways are considered flexible pavement, so they’re actually giving every time you drive on them,” Smith said.
Smith said the county received a battering from Hurricane Irma, which certainly didn’t help. He added that water damaged older roads in the county.
“Irma was not our friend,” Smith said. “It flooded, but it got the ground so saturated, there are still areas you walk on and that water has killed the lime rock.”
Last year, the $5 million got as far as resurfacing 39 roads, County Commissioner Mike Cella told residents at a town hall Sept. 27 on Fleming Island.
“Typically, the past two years, roads that are in the 30s-point totals, those are the ones we’re getting done first,” Cella said. “A million dollars doesn’t go as far you think when you're repaving roads.”
Cella said the point system eliminated a political aspect of the rankings for the counties’ 775 roads, where different parties may lobby road elected officials in hopes of resurfacing in certain districts.
“The subjectivity is sort of gone[by using the point system],” Cella said. “It’s very objective, it’s fact-based how (public works) does it.”
The rankings will fluctuate, however. Maintaining Clay County’s thousands of miles of roads is an endless task, a bit like maintaining a house, Smith said.
“Your road may move up the list, or a few roads may have degradation to the point where they’re worse than yours,” Smith said. “It’s not a first come first basis. The worst comes first.”