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The Villages
Saturday, May 8, 2021

There are legitimate questions to be asked about quality of infrastructure in The Villages

To the Editor:

With the recent break in the water main at Colony Plaza I can’t help but reflect that there seems to be frequent storm sewer breaks and leaks; water main leaks and breaks; delamination of asphalt overlays; and now the obvious edge breaks on the multimodal trails to the south that do not have concrete borders. Storm sewer lines, sanitary sewer lines and water mains are certainly extensive in The Villages due in part to the number of single family homes; but these elements of infrastructure are (while deteriorating) 100 years old and still in use in more severe climatic conditions in norther cities. The materials out of which they are constructed have been continually improved over the same 100 years as have the techniques of welding the joints.

Delamination of road surfaces occurs due to improper material being applied, application technique, or insufficient preparation. Each of these items is subject to inspection at the time of installation and yet the problems on Morse and Buena Vista were obvious and expensive to resolve with mill (removal) and overlay. That road surface deteriorated for some reason other that normal ware.

Seems we have suspicious ground and road disruptions due to storm drain leaks. The standards and inspections during construction are essential and should thoughtfully be examined as county and Villages operating units inherit or buy this infrastructure after it is installed by the Villages Corporation. I would expect that county board members and CDD boards would ask tough and difficult questions. Should more work be bonded for longer time periods? Should some purchases come with “guarantees” or “warranties” or inspected more carefully or brought up to standards before one “just assumes” the ongoing responsibility for perpetual maintenance.

And just because the questions are asked does not mean that we have issues or anyone is cutting corners in materials or installation — we ask questions when we are responsible because it is part of “due diligence.” I’d encourage more study such that there is a collective sense of lifecycle costs and comparisons to other communities. Perhaps we are the best of the best? But absent information, right now, it is one person’s impression that failure rates are excessive.

Donald Smith

Village of Gilchrist

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