Are Brick's Streets Properly Patched After Construction Projects?
Resident complains his street was never repaired to neighbors' satisfaction
Tunes Brook Drive is, by most accounts, a peaceful street. Situated on the Tunes Brook Branch of Kettle Creek, the road is near Brick's southern border, and the waterway from which it derives its name provides residents with a quick outlet to Barnegay Bay.
But since a Brick Municipal Utilities Authority sewer project last year, neighbors say their street has lost its peaceful feeling, as drivers are jolted by pot holes and deteriorating patchwork.
It's the same situation in the northern part of town, where residents of Bluff View Drive deal with many of the same issues, also following a BTMUA sewer line project about two years ago.
The issue is receiving attention from township officials after a Tunes Brook Drive resident pleaded his street's case before council members before they passed the 2012 capital budget earlier this week, which includes funding for road work.
"It was my understanding that, once this was done, the roadway would be paved," said Frank Rutondo, who told council members he counted over 100 exposed excavation points between the end of Tunes Brook and Hooper Avenue - some with weeds growing through the cracks in the pavement.
Councilman Bob Moore said he's struggled with the condition of roads after construction projects as well.
"I nearly lost the bumper on my truck going from one side of the street to the other side of the street," he said, referencing the condition of Fort Street, off Route 88.
But there's no quick fix to post-construction woes, officials say. Even though contractors are required to fully repair a street, the settling process of certain projects can drag on.
Especially after piping or trenching projects - the kind that are done when sewer lines are replaced or upgraded - it takes at least six months for the pipes to settle, according to Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis.
Crews usually put a gravel mix on top of the trench first, then cold patch, then a final overlay of asphalt, he said.
The process takes time.
"We've always had issues with BTMUA's trenching," said Business Administrator Scott Pezarras. "Many times we've had to go out and repair their trenches for them."
When a private contractor digs up a street, Acropolis said, the township holds a bond - a sum of money to guarantee the contractor's work. If a street is not returned to an acceptable condition to township engineers, the town can then collect on the bond to repair the roadway. Most bonds can last eight months or more before they are released.
As for Tunes Brook Drive, the roadway is fifth on the township's list of roads to be paved. Though not included in the capital budget this year, Acropolis said money left over can be used for a paving project.
The cost to repair all of the township's roads in need of improvement: about $10 million, officials estimate.
"Do we wish we could go out there and do all of them? We're ready, willing and able," Acropolis said. "But it comes down to dollars and cents."