Live Oak —
Almost a year and a half ago Tropical Storm Debby wreaked havoc on city, county and privately owned properties. One such area dangerously impacted was Warren Street in downtown Live Oak where a massive sinkhole formed underneath two buildings situated at the corner of Pine Avenue and West Howard Street (US 90), impacting Warren Street that runs parallel to Howard Street.
The city was forced to condemn the two buildings which were ultimately demolished and the land turned over to the city.
After the rubble and debris were removed, the “big fix” was on.
Curt's Construction was awarded a bid on May 25, and approved by the Live Oak City Council in August in the amount of $372,464.53 to perform the task of remediating parts of the sinkhole and rebuilding the road. The project began in early September. Since then, chain linked fencing has protected the area while crews worked to inject grout and repair the situation.
Fast forward to today and the public can now see a sidewalk going through the once condemned area.
“The roadway work, the sinkhole remediation, they’ve reconstructed the sidewalk and we’ve remediated the sinkhole with grout,” said Live Oak’s engineer Lane Lucas. “We’re in the process of rebuilding the road now.”
He said depending on the weather, their plans are to pave the road next week and have it back open to traffic some time Christmas week.
Proposals following project completion include making Warren Street a one way road (West to East) to facilitate angled parking; closing one block of Pine Avenue adjacent to Veterans Park, and creating green space where the condemned buildings once stood along US 90.
Lucas said before any Community Redevelopment Agency projects are to take place, their concerns are about getting the area restored. He said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding would only come through restoration efforts.
“Basically, we’re putting it back to the way it was,” said Lucas. “That’s what FEMA allows, to put it back to the pre-damaged condition.”
Lucas said it is the CRA’s intent to use the Warren Street project to be a springboard for further development in the downtown area. When the repairs of Warren Street are complete, the idea is that all the adjacent areas would be cleaned up and made into a nice, walkable area for folks to enjoy.