Winter 1996 – Brickell Avenue surface: The final word is not good

Brickell Homeowner directors got the latest news on the Brickell Avenue pavement resurfacing job. It was not good.

While bad news may not surprise most who have been following the ongoing saga of the new checkerboard roadway, a glimmer of hope remained in our last report in November that something could be done to improve the patchwork appearance of Brickell.

The hope rested with Dr. Jamshid Armaghani, state pavement evaluation engineer with the Florida Department of Transportation in Gainesville.

Dr. Armaghani responded to Brickell residents’ pleas to search for possible remedies to the mismatched cement. The aggregate for the new concrete slabs was not matched to the pinkish hue of the weathered Brickell Avenue cement when repairs were made last year, leaving most mistakenly thinking that the job was not done, that surely “finishing touches” remained. Dr. Armaghani researched paints, bleaches, acrylic toppings and chemicals that could create a uniform appearance.

No Solution

In a memo dated Jan. 17, 1996, to Jose Gomez, director of operations for FDOT District VI, Dr. Armaghani wrote that his national search for remedies used elsewhere found no potential solutions for Brickell Avenue.

“These surface treatments may be suitable for sidewalks and driveways of homes and office buildings,” he wrote. “However, their use on city streets will be disastrous with respect to pavement color, longevity of these applications, and most importantly, safety of driving public.

“Our test records show that the frictional resistance of pavement surfaces is reduced drastically to an unsafe level whenever paints or thermoplastic lane markings are used on pavements along the wheel paths,” Dr. Armaghani wrote.

The only thing Brickell area residents can hope for is a blending over time. Dr. Armaghani estimates that time to be between two and five years. In the meantime, it’s checkerboard square.

Abreu’s Response Leaves Questions Unanswered

Readers may recall that a letter published in the last newsletter from BHA president Tory Jacobs asked several specific questions. The letter was sent to the FDOT’s District Secretary Jose Abreu, and dealt with aesthetic considerations, communication between FDOT and the association, and the schedule for additional repair work.

Abreu’s response is not specific to BHA concerns but rather sets forth the broad scope of FDOT’s responsibilities.

“Inevitable?”

In a response that directly addresses Brickell residents’ displeasure with the job, the FDOT chief in Tallahassee, Secretary Ben. G. Watts, said that the “mismatch in color between the new and the old pavements was inevitable and could not have been avoided.”

Previously, FDOT officials had said that they did not even consider color matching as a factor in the planning of the job and admitted at least they should have tried.

The Bottom Line

The only viable solution is to repave the entire street, both the old sections and the newly replaced slabs. Not only would it be extremely difficult to induce the Sate to fund the project, discussions with BHA members suggest that the majority haven’t the tolerance to go through the mess, inconvenience and increased traffic accident rate.

From BHA News, Winter 1996, Vol. VI, No. 1