Inverness road repairs near completion date

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By Nancy Kennedy


INVERNESS — Just a few weeks longer is the prediction for the completion of road repairs on Hendrix Avenue and Emery Street in Inverness.

The area has been closed to through traffic from U.S. 41 since Oct. 21 when Likwid Communications Inc. hit a Florida Public Utilities gas line. 

“The gas line was several feet from the locate marks, and every indication is that it was improperly located during the Sunshine One-call utility locate process,” said Katie Cottrell, city of Inverness director of public works. “The gas erupted from the intersection, causing approximately a 3-foot void, and traveled under the asphalt, buckling another point in the intersection, which is also assumed to contain a void.”

Cottrell said this did not break up the surface to the same extent, adding that cracks “radiated from the buckled areas of pavement and traversed to multiple points in the intersection.”

At the time of the rupture, the gas caught fire. FPU has repaired the line and has assured the city there’s no further danger of fire, Cottrell said. 

The intersection remains closed until repairs can be made to the road base and asphalt.

At the Inverness City Council meeting Tuesday, City Manager Frank DiGiovanni informed the council the city will need to pay between $12,000 and $15,000 up front to cover repair costs, but they will be reimbursed by the gas company.

Also at Tuesday’s city council meeting, DiGiovanni updated council members on two upcoming road improvement projects — Highland Boulevard and Zephyr Street between Ella Avenue and North Apopka Avenue. Funding for the design of both road projects have been designated in the city’s 2013 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The city’s share of the design cost is $37,500 for each project. 

Florida Department of Transportation has committed to fund 50 percent of the estimated $75,000 design cost for each project.

“We’ve done this previously for Tompkins Street and it has worked very well,” DiGiovanni said. 

Improvements for Highland Boulevard include road widening and adding an 8-foot bike path. Zephyr Street improvements include widening the road, better defining the travel lanes and improving traffic flow at key intersections.

Construction is estimated to begin near the end of 2013. 

Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy can be reached at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com or 352-564-2927.