In an ongoing discourse that spans years, Lakeland’s road and street conditions took center stage at the January Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting held at City Hall.
At the meeting, city engineers presented a comprehensive pavement assessment, which was conducted by a third party, Pavement Management Group. That assessment laid the groundwork for discussions between staff and elected officials. Those discussions have become a familiar one at City Hall, as the endeavor to enhance road infrastructure has been a consistent effort over the last seven years which started with Mayor Wyatt Bunker and has continued under current Mayor Josh Roman. The city’s commitment to road repair and maintenance has seen substantial progress since the initiation of the first full budget for paving in fiscal year 2016. However, officials say there are constraints of the annual budget allocation for paving endeavors.
During the BOC meeting, Vice Mayor Wesley Wright raised concerns about the escalating paving costs in recent years. “What has been the increased cost over the last few years? Because a million dollars just doesn’t get you what it used to,” he asked. In response, Lakeland Staff Engineer, Luis Camarillo-Hernandez, acknowledged that the cost escalation has been considerable over the recent past.
The engineering department, relying on the pavement assessment, put forth their recommendations for roads in dire need of attention. Those roads are Evergreen Road, with a “poor” rating of 45, which carries an estimated cost of $237,091.21 to repair. Additionally, Oakwood Phase 2-4, with a “poor” rating of 51, is projected to cost $1,177,793.04. Stonebridge sections B & C, with a “poor” rating of 52, has an estimated cost of $512,394.34 to repave. One resident who spoke publicly said he felt like Herons Ridge roads were the worst in Lakeland, and while the assessment seemed to be well researched, it didn’t seem possible these roads were rated in worse condition than the main roads in Herons Ridge. Officials acknowledged those roads do need work and they hope to be able to repave that neighborhood as soon as next year. In the meantime, public works will be working to fix potholes until repaving can be done.
Officials stressed the city remains committed to addressing the pressing issues surrounding road conditions, striving to strike a balance within the constraints of the annual budget. The paving projects should begin sometime in the summer of 2024. If you would like to view the paving assessment, you can click below.