GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council met in a work session Tuesday night to discuss concerns regarding planned construction on Honeysuckle Drive.
With many residents of the street in attendance, Council President John Burkett explained that the session was for discussion purposes only and would not result in any action taken by council that evening.
During council’s last regular meeting on April 19, homeowners living on Honeysuckle had addressed council with questions about the city’s plan to mill and overlay the street. Among their concerns was the issue of whether or not the street should undergo a more extensive reconstruction than is currently planned, as well as if the city’s plan would include the rebuilding of gutter and curbs.
Critics of the current proposal pointed to more extensive construction completed on nearby Gardenwood and Holly Hill Drives.
Another point of contention is a 2010-dated letter sent by a previous city safety/service director to Honeysuckle residents which indicated a more ambitious construction plan than the one currently in the works.
“As we formulated the plan and we started putting the pieces of the puzzle together…if you look at the scoring right now, you’ll find other streets that score worse than Honeysuckle at this point,” said Safety/Service Director Curt Garrison. “But yes, [the] prior person had sent out a letter promising that that street would be evaluated and reconstructed or done, that something would be done with it.”
He added, “But as we, with that person no longer here, started developing a long-term plan, not just looking at the ‘here and now’ and the grading of all the streets, we quickly realized that the amount of work to be done far exceeded the amount of monetary resources to reconstruct every street.”
“We do not have the resources to reconstruct the neighborhood street. Therefore it was determined that we would do a mill and pave like we do on other neighborhood streets,” Garrison said.
When asked by Councilman Todd Oliver how long it had been since Honeysuckle had undergone extensive work, Garrison replied that the he wasn’t sure of the exact time, but did explain what was done, with the concrete below the street being milled, asphalt placed atop it, and slurry seal being added later. He said at some point a fiber mat or mesh had been placed to help stabilize the concrete.
City Street Department Superintendent Ryan Delk said he believed this work took place in 1994, judging from city records.
City Planning and Zoning Manager Chad Henry presented a document to council detailing street conditions based on Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) grading specifications. Of the 364 city streets graded by ODOT, 104 qualify as “failures.” Another 30 are projected to fail in 2017, with 32 more failing in 2018.
“There are 364 streets that were graded…out of those 364…230 of them will have failed. Sixty one percent of the streets we have in the town will be failed based upon our plan and the route we’re going about it,” Henry said.
“What we’re trying to do, obviously, is trying to take those ‘reds’ and ‘yellows’ and turn them into the ‘dark greens’ and ‘light greens,’” he added.
When asked how many other streets in Greenville are similar to the Honeysuckle’s concrete slab design, Henry said there are “five or six of them.”
“Looking at the whole scale, do you throw $700,000 onto Honeysuckle or do you repave Wagner [Avenue] and East Russ Road?” Henry asked. “That’s where the resource allocation came in.”
When asked how many vehicles travel Honeysuckle on an average day, Henry said it sees “under 500 cars a day.” In comparison, he said nearby Gardenwood sees 3,200 to 4,500 vehicles per day, on average.
Councilman Tracy Tryon, noting the street’s proximity to the back lot of Greenville High School, questioned the accuracy of the number of vehicles using Honeysuckle and wondered if an up-to-date traffic count should be performed.
“If you want that done, I can try to hire someone to do that,” Henry said. “At any rate, it’s not going to compare to Gardenwood or North Broadway. Say you get 600? Does that change that Gardenwood gets [4,500]? We’ve got 9,000 on North Broadway and 13,000 at the intersection of Russ and Wagner.”
Tryon said, “I think this situation warrants a little bit more. Maybe it’s a ‘local street’ by the count, but there are quite a few cars in and out of there a day, we all agree with that. But how many of these other streets are also a street that has the concrete base with pavement on top?”
“Out of the remaining concrete streets, Honeysuckle probably gets the most traffic,” Henry replied.
Delk, speaking on the current plan to mill and repave the street, said, “I’m not standing up here saying this is the ‘best case scenario.’ I think we all know what, long term, if we have the finances, needs to happen. It needs to happen in hundreds of streets throughout the city.”
While admitting that Honeysuckle’s surface as well as its curbs and gutters are in need of repair, Oliver said, “It’s 22 years old and it’s still there. It’s not like it’s falling apart, you know? Buses are not falling into crevasses.”
“To tear that street totally up would be the ideal thing to do, but where’s the money?” he noted.
In the April 19 meeting, Garrison said the city’s cost for the Honeysuckle mill and overlay is an estimated $40,000. A 2013 engineer’s estimate on the reconstruction of curbs, gutters, and driveway approaches alone showed an additional cost in excess of $45,000.
Delk said he believed it would cost even more now, saying, “By the time you tear it out, face it in, pour it, fix the yards, you’re looking at [more than] $100,000.”
When asked if the city could pull money from other funds to do the work, Garrison responded, “[Council] can take the money from wherever [it wants] to take it from, but there’s something that’s not going to get done down the road.”
City Auditor Roxanne Willman presented council with a list of the projects that would have to be pushed down the road if the current, limited plan for Honeysuckle is changed to a total reconstruction.
“It’s going to take three years’ worth of projects to be set aside,” she said.
Garrison told council it could alter the project if it chose to do so, but this decision would have to be made soon, as this project, and others, have been advertised for bids.
Council’s next regular meeting is May 3.
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