By Kathy Feist
Everytime it rains, Great Plains Drilling must erect a five-foot mote around their offices located at the tail end of Oak Street in Martin City.
They are just one of several businesses along Oak Street south of 135th Street that struggles with problems from a deteriorating and poorly designed industrial road that must bear the brunt of heavy load-bearing trucks.
On January 10th, representatives from those businesses, including Infinite Energy Construction, Anderson Engineering, Penny’s Concrete, Concrete Placement Inc., CondoGarages, and Martin City Community Improvement District (CID) met with representatives from City Public Works and 6th District City Council administrators to voice their grievances.
Complaints included poor drainage, deep potholes, and kicked-up dust that travels into businesses and into the Martin City commercial district.
Repaving was rejected as a solution. To bear the weight of 20-ton trucks, the street would need to be torn out and reconstructed with a deep concrete base, curbing, and guttering.
Any solution, including water drainage for Great Plains, would be determined by an engineering study.
The cost for the project including purchasing property right of way was estimated at $2 million, according to City Engineer Nicolas Bosonetto, who also gave fair warning.
“Right now we have 144 projects totaling over a billion dollars,” he said. “We are working with a $500 million fiscal cap, meaning in District 6, this $2 million project will be competing with the Holmes Road project for funding.”
Business and CID representatives preferred to underwrite the cost of the engineering study (around $200,000) rather than get city funding. Approval is pending from the CID board and Oak Street business owners.
Likewise, to keep costs down, donating property to the city for right of way was considered.
“I can say right now I would be happy to do it if it addresses the issue,” said Nilson Goes, president of Infinite Energy Construction.
Some observed there could be other cost savings for the project, given the talent and resources along Oak Street.
“We usually don’t build a concrete road in front of a concrete plant,” joked Bosonetto. “So the prices may be better–depending on who bids on it.”