Budget-strapped Palm Bay experimenting with new road paving method

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, December 07, 2017, 3:48 PM EST

In Palm Bay, road woes and budget concerns continue to hamper the area's largest city.

  • City leaders trying out 'experimental rock'
  • Surface installation should cost 75% less than pavement

According to city leaders, "experimental rock" is a method of paving called "double chip-fog seal." It's touted as a less expensive way of road repair and considered a permanent fix that stabilizes the ground instead of patching potholes.

Palm Bay officials said they have to make do with money they have, and repairs like this will help.

"It's an option that we can look at to reduce our overall costs but still provide a quality road that will last a long time," said Troy Davidson, Palm Bay City Engineering Manager.

Four test roads totaling a mile long in that area were chosen for the experiment, giving residents a chance to drive on it and see what they think.

They wanted "to see how it worked, particularly in that area where the roads are bad," Davidson said.

The cost of the driving surface is 75 percent cheaper than putting in pavement. Officials said this method will last some 10 to 15 years. Compared with pavement that will hold up 15 to 20, a full reconstruction project would last 20 years or more.

It’s an experiment one neighbor said is worthwhile and expands to other problem areas.

Kenneth Menninger runs a roofing business, so pulling a trailer is a necessity — and so is dodging potholes in his northwest Palm Bay neighborhood near St. Andre Boulevard.

"Since we've moved here, they've put out experimental rock to see if it holds up better," Menninger said. “I hope they can do more and the other roads."