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New Port Richey To Fix 36 Flood-Damaged Roads

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Daylina Miller/WUSF News
The intersection of Louisiana Avenue and Congress Street by Gulf Middle School in New Port Richey is high on the priority list for repair after flooding damaged the roads.

New Port Richey officials have approved $666,097 to pay for road repairs after heavy rains caused massive flooding in West Pasco County.

The city will partially replace or repair 36 roads after 22 inches of rain caused the asphalt to buckle and break in late July and early August.

The city hired a contractor, Florida Safety Contractors Inc., who submitted the lowest bid among three contractors for emergency repairs, according to Public Works Director Robert Rivera.

An additional $50,000 was allotted to the project for unexpected expenses or additional road damage beyond what was initially assessed.  The money came from the local option gas tax funds, Rivera said.

Rivera said the water damaged the foundation underneath the road.

"When it comes to road construction, everybody thinks that the asphalt is the main ingredient but the asphalt is only as strong as the sub-base,” Rivera said. “Once the sub-base gets compromised, you lose the road itself and that's what occurred."

The damage isn't confined to just the roads. Even vehicles that avoided driving through flood water still got damage from cracked asphalt and potholes.

Frank Cappiello has seen a few customers come into his auto repair shop, Coastal Kustoms, for hundreds and even thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.

He said the cracked asphalt and potholes from flood-damaged roads puts a strain on vehicles.

"Tires, rims bent, cuts in tires...it puts a burden on your suspension,” Cappiello said about the types of damage caused. “Your strut shocks, front end parts, ball joints… it just continues to wear them worse than on a smooth road or just a bumpy road."

Riversa said the contractor is ready to start the work, but rain has put a hold on things

"We're ready to go as soon as we think that we can but if we get impatient and we try to get these repairs done and we don't have the conditions that we need, then we're going to be back there redoing the work and we don't want that,” Rivera said.

Rivera says that the project should be completed within the next month - if the weather cooperates.

Fifteen roads will need complete removal of the asphalt, replacement and compaction of the sub-base, and installation of new surface.

Until then,"go slow and avoid potholes,” Cappiello said. “You could bend stuff, break stuff - the potholes are pretty big."

The road at Louisiana Avenue and Congress Street by Gulf Middle School takes priority. Workers plant to start replacing parts of the street, curb and sidewalk in the next week.

Pasco County will also repair 150 flood-damaged roads. More details on that project will be discussed at the October 13 workshop meeting.