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Palm Coast Hires $200,000 Consultant To Figure Out What Roads To Pave Next, and How

| August 2, 2017

palm coast road resurfacing

Crackling options. (Matthias Ripp)

One of Palm Coast’s most successful programs in the past decade and more has been its road-maintenance. A sales surtax helped pay for a 10-year, 50-miles-a-year resurfacing plan that ended in 2012. The city has been resurfacing smaller segments since, based on what’s most needed. In early June the council approved a $1.5 million plan to resurface 13 miles of streets that need it most through the city, a plan that also included surfacing a controversial foot path through the F Section.

That’s been the city’s only approach when it comes to street maintenance: resurfacing or nothing. “Well,” Howard Luxhoj told the Palm Coast City Council Tuesday evening, “that’s kind of the 1965 method of doing. It’s a great method, but unfortunately it’s very expensive. It really is a beautiful surface when it’s finished, but it’s very costly.” In actual dollars, it costs about $50,000 per lane mile, or $100,000 per mile for a typical two-lane Palm Coast street.

There are alternatives, among them asphalt “rejuvenation,” at $6,000 per mile, which applies a coating of oils that soaks through the asphalt, replacing lost oils, making the asphalt more flexible again and less prone to cracking. There’s “microsurfacing,” a relatively new process invented in 1980, which inexpensively applies a new protective coat of blended asphalt and fine gravel to a road surface, sealing cracks and extending a road surface’s lifespan by several years. Microsurfacing is estimated to cost $25,000 a mile.

Many cities use the less expensive methods. Palm Coast never has. It may soon, though before such savings, the city will have to front more money to a consultant to figure out how and where to do it. The Palm Coast City Council Tuesday evening voted 4-0 to approve a $210,000 contract with Luxhoj’s Transmap Corp., a consultant that will analyze the city’s streets and come up with a “master plan” (a fancy way of referring to a report) on what to do next to the city’s 1,186 lane- miles of roadway.

Hiring the consultant “puts us into more modern times in determining what streets need to be paid, what’s the best maintenance item or process for those,” City Manager Jim Landon said. He did not explain why that had not been done before or why the city was not equipped to do the job it was turning over to a consultant—a decision the council was not involved in until Tuesday evening.

“This will allow us to figure out what actually needs to be done.”

 “This will allow us to figure out what actually needs to be done,” Sean Castello, the city’s traffic engineer, said. “Unfortunately, this type of work is very specialized.” He said cities of Palm Coast’s size have staff dedicated to pavement maintenance. “We don’t have that. So right now we’re not entirely going blind but we’re having to use our best judgment to see what really needs to be fixed, where if you get folks like Howard and Transmap, they actually know this stuff, they actually know what they’re doing.”

In the first phase, the consultant will provide maps, a five to 10-year master plan and a “report book,” plus web-based access to its work, and a “crack intelligence report”—in essence, an overview of road conditions. Phase two “deliverables” repeat most of those of phase one, with some variation applying to sidewalks and pathways, though “roadway assets” and “pathway assets” are different ways of describing what would be in the master plan. There would also be more maps, more reports, more web-based access to data.

For that, phase one—the street survey and master plan–would cost $165,000. Phase two, which would provide a survey of striping conditions and an inventory of sidewalks, would add $46,000. Total cost: $211,000.

Luxhoj, Transmap’s CEO, more clearly explained the actual work his company will provide: “We go out with the technology and we make measurements. We run this fancy van with lasers and cameras, lasers measure the depth and the width and the length of all the cracks. All that data goes into an Army Corps of Engineer tool that 625 cities across the US use called Micropaver, and Micropaver takes all that data in, it takes all of the traffic data, it will take in what the average daily traffic is, it will take in—is it a collector road, what’s the condition, how was the road built, what’s the surface type, is it a concrete road, is it an asphalt road, what’s the base, that kind of stuff. All that information goes into this big software tool that is open source, that’s run by Army Corps of Engineers.” It then spits out a work plan. “Micropaver will say, well, tell us what you like, what is acceptable to you and your constituents, and then you start making decisions based on what is really going on with the road.”

“What this is going to do, just to summarize,” Council member Steven Nobile said, “it’s not going to change the budget, we’re still going to spend the same amount of dollars, but it’s going to be better targeted at streets that require more, and hopefully help us to get more out of our buck.”

A few people spoke to the council before its vote, among them former Mayor Jon Netts (who may be mulling another run for office). “I heard some terms of art, micros-resurfacing and rejuvenators,” he said. “I just want to caution council that early on in our road program we tried something called chip seal. If there was something that we did that the public didn’t like, that was it. The damage that we did to driveways, private driveways and so on and so forth was immeasurable. Let’s be certain as we look at these options what we’re choosing is not something that’s going to bring the public out with pitchforks and torches. No chip seal, please.”

There appear to be no chip sealing in Palm Coast’s future.

Palm Coast’s Pavement Management Presentation

27 Responses for “Palm Coast Hires $200,000 Consultant To Figure Out What Roads To Pave Next, and How”

  1. Veteran says:

    I will do it for 100k. How difficult can it be? Morons!

  2. Resident says:

    And so the spending continues …… but hopefully this would be useful spending …… let’s see Palm Coast

  3. David S. says:

    Waste, Netts again please help us !!!!!!

  4. Peter A. Cerreta says:

    I truly can’t believe this!

  5. NPA says:

    Unbelievable… so many other problems in the city and they decide to waste this money just to know what roads to pave next and HOW!!!!! Suggestion: use this $200 000 for the homeless, the abused, the jobless, the veterans, the schools… There are so many other options! If this money is used to give a home to a poor family with kids, it is better used.

  6. woodchuck says:

    What do you expect from career politicians.

  7. $200,000 & No says:

    $200,000, then $210,000, then $211,000 (follow the article closely). Kinda funny how that works, what’s the real price we are paying??? Does anyone know????

    Either way, this is a sorry expenditure. I’d understand if we are in Orlando, but come on man, we are small town. There is much better ways to spend this money to benefit all residents. Trucks equipped with lasers??? Really? I’m imagining a technocolored ice cream truck rolling down the street blaring dance music with lights flashes lasers and smog machines.. Like a Mannheim Steamroller Concert..

    Here’s the job interview for this position: Do you have eyeballs? “Yes, I do.” Can you drive a car? “Yes, I think so.” Can you read a ruler? “Yes I am very good at reading a ruler.”. You’re qualified for this job, and you’re hired!

    Questions our Council never thought up before signing the contract:

    1.) WHAT other cities have used this service and to what extent did it help them?? (I want to see real data, not junk)
    2.) How many technocolored laser equipped trucks are we getting for this price tag that keeps slowly increasing? (Do not say 1, maybe 2)
    3.) How quickly will all of PC roads be technocolor laser surveyed? (Do not tell me 4-6 years)
    4.) How quickly will this data be translated into road construction & repair (Do not say 6-9 years)
    5.) DO WE EVEN HAVE THE MONEY FOR all of THE ROADS IN NEED of repair that this system determines need to be repaved (Do not say No), or are we going to create a long list of future projects in years and budgets to come?

    I do not approve of this, at all. I give it a gigantic technocolored Mannheim Steamroller laser show NO, NO, NO.

  8. Jitters says:

    Here’s an idea make a
    Right turn lane at seminal woods
    And s.t rd 100 .take out the trees
    Make left turn lane.
    Middle straight
    Right turn lane traffic is horrible
    In that area.

  9. Sw says:

    Pay me 2 grand and I’ll do it in my spare time and give you a thorough report in 10 days. The persistent waste by the leaders in this town tries my patience. I cannot wait to leave. Common sense is non existent smh

  10. That_Salty_Mermaid says:

    “Consultant” is just a fancy title for someone who takes money for little to nothing tangible in return. This money could be spent on so many other things. Youth center? Sidewalks? Schools? Seriously, the city needs to get real.

  11. Lou says:

    That is $177/lanemile.
    How many Flagler County jobs will this create?.
    Can the locals take video recording and send it to the city? Much cheaper.

  12. Traveling Rep says:

    I wish they would ask more questions before committing to this. Traditional Asphalt rejuvenators are extremely carcinogenic (cancer causing). They are also very smelly and take a long time to dry/cure. FAA used to allow their use, but has since banned them. It is believed this was in part due to the softening of asphalt = loss of friction = aircraft sliding off runway during rain. But, from a residential standpoint we really need to look into the runoff contamination.

    Perhaps due diligence is in order? Maybe a demonstration could be provided, with an environmental scientist in attendance? I think the results could help with the decisions…

  13. gmath55 says:

    What did you expect it is City Manager Jim Landon’s project. Government and politicians always waste money.Tax and spend. Same old, same old.

  14. MannyHM says:

    How do other cities do it ? Cit employees should be able to determinate that and adapt the best practice.

  15. PC Newbie says:

    Whats the problem with our road division THEY should know whats needed and where

  16. Tired says:

    Palm Coast used to have staff that did the evaluations, but then that was back when they actually had a Public Works Director that had a background in Public Works. There truly is a need for this, and I’m sure all the nay-sayers will be screaming soon enough when the road conditions worsen. However, I think you can forgo both options in phase 2 and save $46k. If we don’t have a comprehensive inventory of the sidewalks and striping already then staff needs to go collect that. I’m pretty certain they have it and can simply compile it, use the savings to create a local job.

  17. The Oracle says:


  18. Anonymous says:

    Can’t please everybody, ignorant comments from people who don’t know anything about the education or technology behind this project .people sitting behind a keyboard always griping at everything. Volunteer at the food pantry and do something for the community

  19. Just the truth says:

    Who’s big idea was this? Let me guess Jim Landon and Code Enforcement Dept. another waste of the tax payers money.
    They pay a private lawyer $400,000.00 to do their dirty work, another waste of the tax payers money.

    For such a small town the City of PC is wasting a lot of money on things they could be handling themselves.

    Their new expensive City Hall another waste of the taxpayers money, the list keeps growing.

    How about doing a study on why, they can’t seem to get good companies to move here and employ their citizens that work here and don’t just want to work at Walmart, Wendy’s or McDonalds?

  20. same thing says:

    Hope this person extends the length of all right turn lanes…

  21. John dolan says:

    pHD’s no doubt. Pile it higher and deeper. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out a road maintainance schedule. Yes there are newer and better materials coming into construction and they can be looked at according to location. The installation of the materials is key. Stop wasting our taxes on BS.

  22. Bc. says:

    The mayor should get in a car and drive around the city and see what needs paving. What a joke 200k wasted

  23. Jonn says:

    Worked on road resurfacing in the 80’s in NYC……for 65k plus all expenses I can do this job well !! 200k is foolish……

  24. can'tfoolme says:

    Does the city not have any civil engineers on staff???! They would be knowledgeable about the condition of the roads and quite capable of advising what remedy would be most successful and cost effective. And I’m sure their salary would be nowhere near the $200,000+ that will be spent on the “consultation”.

  25. Downtown says:

    Why must you hire a consultant when you have people on staff that are being paid to do this and have a better understanding of PC’s needs. They have the knowledge and experience to tell you the very same thing an out of town consultant is going to tell you for 200 grand. Have some faith and trust in your employees and quit throwing our money around.

  26. Roll on 2 says:

    Chip seal is great if done properly. Key word is PROPERLY!

  27. Will says:

    Willing to bet they hired some politician’s brother in law?

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