Damage from Hurricane Ike still puts some projects on hold

Alyssa Sparacino

Costly projects like the Crain Avenue bridge and unexpected occurrences like severe storms, have wreaked havoc with Kent Public Service Department’s plans for street maintenance and repairs.

Four weeks since remnants of Hurricane Ike wiped through Ohio, the work on its destruction in Kent is not over.

Crews from the service department are still cleaning up debris near the southwest district of Kent that was left over from the storm, public service director Gene Roberts said.

“We could have been out doing other street projects,” he said. “We had to pull people off all kinds of projects in order to assign them to storm damage clean-up.”

Ward 2 councilman Jack Amrhein is familiar with the repercussions of postponed plans. bruskin call reporter for actual date of meeting. –> Last week, he invited residents of his ward to meet with him to discuss citywide or local issues.

Several people spoke out about many pothole and maintenance problems on the streets where they live, particularly noting Jessie Avenue, Longmere Drive and South Francis Street.

“This has been an issue for the last few years in my ward,” Amrhein said. “It can damage (a resident’s) car. It’s just the whole idea of the way it looks. You pay city taxes and then your street looks a mess.”

In 2009, plans are set to completely resurface and repave South Francis Street, and that time frame is as definite as possible, about 95 percent, Roberts said. Repaving Jessie Avenue is scheduled for 2010.

“What makes this so exasperating for (the residents) is these roads should have been done two years ago,” Roberts explained. In order for the city to match the funding awarded for the recent Crain Avenue bridge project, the service department had to forgo a street program for two years, he said.

Roberts explained that there is a systematic approach to how street repairs are prioritized. A chart is created to graph the condition of a street, called the Pavement Condition Index. Values are recorded over a period of time ranging from 0 to 100 that represent bad to good pavement conditions.

“Reality is that perception is 90 percent of the problem,” Roberts said. At a value of about 75 to 80, if a resident calls and complains about potholes or other pavement issues and the service crews come out and resurface or patch the bad areas, the index value will rise again, he said.

“If we see that a street we did a temporary repair on is then not as bad as one that we didn’t put a temporary repair on, we are going to skip your street and do another,” Roberts said. “It’s not that we are trying to penalize you and make you wait, but if we spend money on it, then we don’t want that money to go to waste.”

Potholes and a street’s wear and tear on cars are some of the biggest complaints Amrhein said he receives. He added that a message was waiting for him at home concerning another street complaint.

Roberts said residents who have an issue with their street should call his office directly, because going through their councilman can sometimes lead to delays.

Contact public affairs reporter Alyssa Sparacino at [email protected].