consultants are sandburs

Thursday, August 21, 2014

RAMSEY - "The most expensive projects to the city and residents are road reconstruction projects because it includes tearing up the road and fixing any problems beneath the surface and drainage issues rather than just repaving the road or patching potholes." Really? Who sez?

The headline is a quote from within ABC Newspapers' coverage of a Ramsey Council vote, with quotes.

That's simply fiction for most existing Ramsey roads in established large-lot neighborhoods.

The sandy soil drains water to the water table, refreshing the aquifer we all depend upon for household water.

Some places, density is such or commercial parking lots require storm water drainage NOT required in the large-lot established neighborhoods.

What is going on? WHO is setting this unneeded policy, and WHY?

Is it some Met Council demand again?

Is it unreal engineering thought?

Sandy soil drains rain. It is the nature of things.

UPDATE: Are we seeing insinuation of sewer/water into neighborhoods that do not want or need it?

If so, WHO is setting such a policy and WHY?

It is NOT in the general public interest to see that question largely infused with sotto voce misdirection if the aim is to extend sewer/water universally in the community despite that being unneeded and unwise. What is happening? Why do our roads have to be redone with storm water drainage stuff in the established large-lot neighborhoods? It is certainly not a hydrology engineering thing. It is policy. Diminish our wetlands? Why lower the water table sending water down stream when we are pressing local north metro aquifer capacity now? The environmental dimension needs debate.

A clarification is needed. Road reconstruction can be required if there are drainage issues under an existing road bed. In such a case drainage measures would of course be needed as part of a reconstruction. However, road bed inadequacy can occur without drainage issues, such as where an inadequately prepared dirt road has been blacktopped in the past. Probably drainage issues causing roadbed failure is more common than other causes for reconstruction. To the extent that is so, the headline proves correct. However, a wholesale tearing up and rebuilding of older but adequate town roads to install first-instance drainage measures would be wasteful, and the hope is that it becomes clearer in reporting whether such less than nuanced matters were part of the overall engineering review and council decision processes. What is unclear is the extent of reconstruction that good sense might require, vs the extent of less costly maintenance continuation of roads without storm water drainage, and without sewer/water lines embedded in road rights-of-way. In analogous terms, the adequate Chevvy need not be replaced in every instance with a Cadillac. Maintain it. Service it. But it is a luxury to upgrade it needlessly, as a statement of preferred fashion. If a sound and thorough road study exists at this time grading individualized roadbed quality and needs city-wide, independent of loose "age implies needs" seat-of-the-pants theory, I have not seen such a thorough study referenced anywhere or publicized by city staff.

___________FURTHER UPDATE___________
I am aware of one city spot repair, for drainage reasons.

On 156th Ave. NW a drainage ditch running all the way to Trott Brook, crossed 156th parallel to Hematite St. Because of silting or sand in the culvert, or for some other reason, the culvert under 156th was not functioning properly. It was replaced, a spot patch over the bed after the repair was put in place, and with a sealcoat in the neighborhood after that, the repair is not something you can see anymore.

This is unlike the rework along Alpine Blvd at Hematite, where the drainage ditching is continued across both sides of Hematite to where the ditching is an axle-busting thing at anything over 2-5 mph. when crossing Hematite or turning off Alpine onto Hematite. It's good my lower back has not been problematic recently, or I'd have to avoid that spot entirely while driving across or off Alpine. And that's in an SUV. Worse in a sedan, I'd expect.

Alpine storm drainage stuff, with curbing, is in place on the stretch of Alpine between Hematite and Ramsey Blvd, where the new drainage grates get covered up with weed cutting debris, and where previously without curbing the wetland the road runs through took the runoff and it made the cattails happy.

It seems a questionable "improvement" to have partly clogged drainage grating in place of clear, clean runoff into the wetland.

It is not something I'd have engineered, and that's absent a degree in civil engineering. It was in the specs, so it was done, but curbing to prevent runoff into a wetland, how bright is that, really?

I notice the county road, Ramsey Blvd, north of Alpine does not have curbing and storm water grating along the road where it passes through wetlands, and in this case it seems there's more sense in county road maintenance and upgrading. Ramsey Blvd remains as it was curbing-wise, with wetland drainage unimpeded, after the recent needed and very nice re-surfacing done by the county.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Despite my natural inclination to disagree with most things you say logic dictates I must agree with your last post. I put my horses in the barn about 6:00 AM thinking there might be hail in the morning storm. At that time I walked to the barn in my slippers.

When the storm passed I let them out and noticed there was standing water several inched deep twelve feet wide and 40 feet long in front of the barn. Enough to have noticed in my slippers.

It is now 10:55 and all the water is all gone. So much for the need for storm sewers in rural Ramsey. I hope there is NO plan by anyone to impose such a requirement on Ward 2.

If such a requirement were imposed across Middle America by some I'll advised planning agency like the Met Council the Katrina New Orleans flooding of a few years ago would become an annual event.