Residents in Fort River Caves, Reddell Ranch Acres and Yaqui Circle have had their roads torn up for months while waiting for a sewer expansion project to finish up.
The Camp Verde Sanitary District has set October as the date for the roads to be finished.
But when Camp Verde Town Engineer Ron Long saw the plans for rebuilding the roads, he said he couldn’t sign off on them in good conscience.
“This road design is substandard,” Long said.
It wasn’t always, Long said. When the project was first conceived, Long said the plans presented by the sanitary district were adequate enough to meet town standards.
But as costs for the sewer project mounted, Long figures someone decided to save money by cutting back on the street design, or “value engineering,” as Long called it.
That’s not to say the streets proposed by the district will be worse than before. The proposed design would pretty much be equal to what was put in during the 1970s.
While those roads were once acceptable, the Town of Camp Verde has higher standards today, Long said.
“It’s not much of a step up from a gravel road,” Long said.
If built as planned, Long said he figured the roads would have a life expectancy of about five years before constant maintenance would be required.
Long said he came to the town council for direction because he wouldn’t sign off on substandard roads for anyone, be it a commercial developer or the sanitary district.
Of course, the district board isn’t happy about it either. Last month, board member Rob Witt said the situation was regrettable but that there just wasn’t enough money to fix the streets up as the district would like.
The town has pledged $240,000 for road construction. It would cost somewhere close to $1.5 million to bring the damaged roads up to town standards, Long said.
There’s also a time limit. If the roads aren’t finished by October, Long said, work crews will have missed a weather window for road paving that likely wouldn’t open again until next spring.
Long said he was hoping that the district would have sat down with him and town officials to work out a solution.
“But that didn’t happen,” Long said.
The council members were obviously disappointed, but most expressed an understanding that the streets couldn’t be left in their current condition for another six months.
The council asked Long to see if he could come up with any possible solutions that could extend the life of the roads, including perhaps grinding up what’s left of the current roads and using the rubble for additional base material.
In the meantime Councilman and liaison to the district Charlie German said he would try to meet with district officials as soon as possible to start working toward finding a solution that would work best for the residents of the affected neighborhoods.