Public Works projects in the queue

Construction safety barricades and often cryptic marks and letters painted on roads and sidewalks indicate pending construction projects – or not. The Resident has been keeping an eye on neighborhood projects, including bridge repairs and replacements as well as issues with sidewalks.

Bridge replacement, repair

Nearly a year after it was first noted in the September 2015 issue of The Resident, the Lakeside Drive bridge replacement project has yet to be started. At that time the City of Jacksonville indicated construction would begin in early 2016.

An update in the paper’s February 2016 issue noted an anticipated construction start to be early May, however, not all of the project’s stakeholders have completed their pre-construction work as of the end of July.

According to Tia Ford, public information officer for the City of Jacksonville, the Public Works Department said it was awaiting utility relocations with AT&T, Comcast/Level 3, and TECO Gas. Until those utility relocations take place, Public Works stated it was holding on the Design Plans.

Funding for the Lakeside Drive Bridge was appropriated in May 2015 per the recommendation of the Council’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Subcommittee.

In the meantime, Wabash Avenue, which runs from Lakeside Drive to Roosevelt Boulevard, was resurfaced in April as part of planned project, not in preparation for the pending bridge replacement, said Ford.

In the Fishweir neighborhood, a box culvert on Herschel Street over Little Fishweir Creek, has been in a state of disrepair for 25 years. Built in the 1930s, the culvert was slated for replacement in 1991, and in 1998 and finally again in 2012, when funding was approved for the design plan.

Deterioration of the concrete balustrades resulted in gaping holes, large enough for a dog or a child to slip through into the creek below. In July 2014, an inquiry by The Resident led the Public Works Department to affix a bright orange netting over the crumbled balustrades on the east side of Herschel Street.

In October 2015 The Resident reported the project was to have been included in the 2015-2016 Capital Improvement Projects after $450,000 in funding was authorized by City Council’s CIP Subcommittee.

“Per Public Works, the project has been bid and they are working toward awarding it; current target start is September,” said Ford. “The existing structure is being monitored in the meantime.”

Sidewalk repairs

The Public Works Department indicated it had received a request for repair in June for a two-block stretch of sidewalk on Baltic Avenue in Ortega, according to Ford. The sidewalk is slated for grinding of protruding edges and some cracked slabs. Barricades are set up between Harvard, Doric and Ionic Avenues, with paint marks on the sidewalk indicating grinding or replacement of slabs with cracks.

According to Public Works, there is a significant backlog of sidewalk repairs from prior years that will proceed the work at this location, stated Ford.

In February, a similar request was made for a portion of sidewalk on Riverside Avenue between James and Cherry Streets, where pavers have been dislocated, are broken or are missing. Residents in the area have expressed concerns for the safety of an elderly person who has difficulty traversing the sidewalk.

Traffic signal changes

Another local project still in the starting gates is traffic signalization/re-timing of Riverside Avenue and 15 intersections with traffic lights. A specific scope of work and project cost submitted by the consultant is in final review, according to Ford, however, the project may not commence until September due to required traffic counts and field observations that must be conducted in the months schools are in session.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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