County commissioners voted last week to take emergency measures if the condition of a damaged culvert worsens.
At the April 1 meeting, County Planner Alan Pierce told commissioners that a large culvert under
Pierce said the sides of the culvert are bowing in and the structure could collapse during a heavy rain event.
He said that county consulting firm Preble Rish Engineering is reviewing options for repair with the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT). He said the current elliptical culvert might be replaced with two six-foot circular pipes.
The culvert drains about 1000-acres, 600 of which are on airport property. Pierce said he has inquired whether DOT funds for improving airport drainage could be used to contribute to the cost of repair.
Pierce said the situation is exacerbated by the fact that resurfacing of Bluff Road is underway. He said the culvert should be repaired before the road is resurfaced so that the new road will not have to be cut later to make repairs.
Commissioner William Massey who works with the Carrabelle Road Department agreed. “You want to fix it now,” he said.
Commissioner Smokey Parrish, whose district includes Bluff Road residents, said he is hoping for a 75/25 percent matching grant from the DOT. He said that, in that case, he could take $25,000 for the match from his road maintenance funds.
Commissioner Pinki Jackel asked why damage to the culvert had not been discovered during preliminary inspections before the paving began.
“It wasn’t until we had heavy construction traffic on the road that the collapse started,” said Pierce.
Pierce said he considered the condition of the culvert to be an emergency situation.
Commissioners voted unanimously to allow Pierce to negotiate with contractor C.W. Roberts for immediate repairs should the culvert begin to collapse.
Commissioner Noah Lockley said the problem is causing further delays to the resurfacing of
Commissioners questioned the timeline for the project at a meeting earlier this year. Pierce told them then that bad weather had delayed work on the road.
Pierce said investigation into available funds for the repair work is ongoing.
Parrish said whether or not the culvert collapses, there will be delays associated with the repair work, and that one lane of Bluff Road would have to be closed for an unknown period of time during repairs. He asked everyone to be patient.