Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Forward Motion on the Roads

On Wednesday, May 8th, several Islanders met with Public Works officials at San Casa to discuss the Island roads, and had a very productive meeting.  The meeting included several members of the Roads & Bridges steering committee, which helped to establish the criteria for the future R&B Advisory Committee.

The following items were discussed at the meeting:

1-It was decided Charlotte County will hire an independent consulting firm to do a feasibility evaluation of all of the non-paved roads. Islander Linda Cotherman researched the non-profit “Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies”, affiliated with Penn State University. They are an engineering company that specializes in unpaved roads. The expected result is a study which will give recommendations and options to improve and maintain the roads. The County supports the low-cost project.

2- It was agreed to do a materials test on several roads on the Island with a new and different kind of road material. This material is a composite of sand and shell which most closely resembles natural sand, providing the proper road drainage.

The next day, the Islanders met staff at the firehouse to take a tour of the sand roads.  The test areas for the new material were selected:  one on Palm Drive, and a couple on S. Gulf Blvd.  
Public Works staff said that they look forward to working with the new advisory board. They are presently in the process of making sure the applicants are qualified as per the ordinance that was just adopted. Staff is now vetting the applicants for meeting the ordinance criteria, and assembling packets for the commissioners to review.

The next step:

The County will hire the consultants to evaluate the Island roads, so that their report ready once the Advisory Committee is formed.  The present steering committee will be watching the sample patches, particularly after the rain, to evaluate whether the new material will work.

Created in 2000, the Center specializes in education, outreach, research and project oversight related to the Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance of unpaved roads and trails.  These “ESM” practices stress long-term solutions to create more environmentally and economically sustainable unpaved roads.  Read more about the Center at:

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