PALM BAY — Residents, tourists and commuters alike have something to look forward to in the coming years of driving the run-down roads of Palm Bay.
Thanks to voters who approved of a $150M general ordinance bond on last year’s ballot, for the Referendum No. 2 Bonds for Road Improvement Projects in Palm Bay, the city of Palm Bay can begin work with its GO Roads paving projects.
Since the General Development Corporation purchased and paved extensive tracks of land in Palm Bay during the early 1960s, those roads haven’t been maintained throughout the years, leading to the poor conditions drivers face today.
On Oct. 11, city officials marked the beginning of Phase One for the GO Roads paving projects at Thunderbird Avenue and Firethorn Road NW, just east of Fred Poppe Park.
“Prior to this process starting, we had a company come in and do a survey of all the roads, and out of that we got pavement condition indexes,” said Keely Leggett, community information coordinator for the city of Palm Bay. “That’s not just surface, it’s what the base is doing, because there’s different processes we can do on the roads.”
The pavement condition indexes will allow the city of Palm Bay’s Infrastructure Oversight and Advisory Board to look at the levels of work certain roads need, which can help stretch the dollars from the bond, according to Ms. Leggett.
The Infrastructure Oversight and Advisory Board will determine which areas need work before going to City Council for approval.
In conjunction with the paving project, the city is also looking to restore its stormwater infrastructure.
“Why pave roads if we’re not taking care of the infrastructure of the pipes?” said Frank Watanabe, engineering division manager. “We’re making sure to take care of all the pipes first. Most of the pipes are old metal pipes and have gone to the point where they’re past their life. Timing-wise it works just right.”
On May 16, the Palm Bay City Council approved of a preliminary $50M draw from the $150M GO Roads paving bond. In the following month of June, the city sought bidders for the project, which was awarded to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.
Another milestone for the Palm Bay City Council was its approval of the first paving bid on Aug. 13. The bid amounted to $3,145,839 for the areas of Unit 41 and Eldron Boulevard.
Currently, the approved areas for Phase One include Units 11, 15,18, 23, 31, 32, 42, 56 and Garvey Road (between Malabar Road and Garbelmann Street).
“I’ve got to confess something,” said Councilman Harry Santiago during the GO Roads kickoff. “When Deputy Mayor Brian Anderson proposed this to put this on the ballot, I thought it was one of those Hail Mary’s that was going to get dropped at some point.
“I’ve got to tell you,” Councilman Santiago continued, “the people came in strong. Over 66% of the voters said, ‘Absolutely, yes, we want our roads done,’ and so I really have to commend everyone who put the hard work into it.”
The paving program is set to be carried out in five phases over the next several years. Maps have been provided online for viewers to get a glimpse of proposed paving schedules.
For more information, visit www.pbfl.org/goroads.