Royal Palms Parkway, one of Palm Coast’s few east-west thruways, is again open to traffic after a two-week closure from Belle Terre Parkway to Rickebracker Drive when a storm pipe collapse that made the road unsafe to drive. The road reopened well ahead of expectations: A crew leader had projected a reopening by the end of next week. But the in-house city crew got the work done in less than five days, for about $56,000.
The portion of road closed on Sept. 16 after a contractor reported that a stormwater pipe beneath the road collapsed during maintenance. The contractor, Advance Plumbing Technology, was conducting a routine rehabilitation method of rearming pipes with a sort of reinforcing resin that, once it hardens, extends the life of the pipe by decades. The substance coasts the entirety of the pipe’s interior. But the pipe–two of them, actually–had corroded so significantly that they collapsed during the process, creating a void between the pipes and the road. That led the road to cave in–not much, but enough to make it dangerous to drive through.
An emergency structural repair was required and the City’s Stormwater and Engineering department began seeking contractors to complete the hazardous work as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the contractors would not have been able to begin work immediately, which would have caused an extended delay in the road closure.
The City’s Stormwater Pipe Crew has the talent and experience to complete this type of work. It volunteered and pledged to complete the work quickly. Work started on Monday (Sept. 27). Video of the repairs show an unrecognizable Royal Palm, its familiar straightaway transformed at the work site into a deep trench that would have been familiar to soldiers of the Marne or the Somme but for the excavators and hardhats. New twin 125-foot pipes were installed, discarding the rotten ones. Since it was only a stormwater pipe failure, no water service was affected in the neighborhood. And since it did not rain the entire week, the crew did not have to activate the pumps it had at the ready to perform the stormwater evacuation that the pipes would have performed.
The road was repaved today.
“The guys out here and their devotion has been very impressive,” Stormwater Pipe Supervisor Kevin Nelson said. His enthusiasm seems to have been part of the fuel mix in the excavators’ tanks. “The whole teamwork dynamic out here has been incredible. We appreciate you guys being patient with us.”
The crew worked 12 hours a day. The city rented a Caterpillar 336 Excavator and 16,000 pound trench boxes for the project and had two hundred tons of base and one hundred tons of rock delivered to the site.
“We’re very proud of the team for coming together and taking on a project that could have taken up to a month to complete and accomplishing it in just five days,” Interim City Manager Denise Bevan said. “I think this is a great testament to the quality of individuals who serve the citizens of Palm Coast and I couldn’t be more encouraged by their hard work and tenacity.”
The road was paved early Friday morning and will be striped over the weekend. The road is now re-opened to traffic. In a release, city government said it appreciated the community’s patience with this unexpected project.
There’s no word yet on whether Kevin Nelson and his A Team will be cross-trained and deployed on the northern front to finally get the war zone at Old Kings Road and Palm Coast Parkway completed before rising seas begin to encroach around mid-century.