Repaving North Port in the Sunshine State
Every year, millions of tourists and “snowbirds,” flock to Florida’s Gulf Coast to soak up the sun and enjoy the attractions the Sunshine State has to offer. Among the many beautiful coastal cities is North Port, where visitors and residents alike are drawn to its subtropical climate, beaches and resorts.
Beyond the city’s sandy beaches, the streets of North Port had fallen into disrepair. The city worked to keep up with the maintenance needs of the roads, most of which date back to the 1960s, but dilapidation was occurring at a faster rate than repair.
In 2012, North Port was granted a $46 million bond to upgrade roads in the city. The project began in 2014 and would take three years and include six phases. When fully completed in 2017 the project—called The Road Bond Project—will renew 266 miles of highway and include multiple bridges. Construction of the multi-million-dollar project is now in the fast lane; by November of 2016, projects had surpassed the 80 percent completion point.
While the community rejoiced, road repair teams were preparing their own coffee cups, in anticipation for the early mornings and hot afternoons ahead.
Smooth Mill and Fill
Working for the city of North Port is Ajax Paving Industries, who was given the job of milling and resurfacing 120,000 tons of asphalt as part of Phase Four. This includes putting an inch-and-a-quarter of SM-9.5 overlay onto existing roads.
Established in 1951 by Herb Jacob, Ajax built a strong reputation in Michigan as an asphalt and concrete contractor, before expanding operations to Florida’s Gulf Coast in 1981. For over half a century, Ajax has paved the way ahead—not just for the company, but also for the hundreds of thousands of motorists who rely on high quality roads every day.
One of the machines on Phase Four is the Volvo P7170 paver, supplied by local dealer Flagler Construction Equipment’s Southwest Florida branch and seen in the pictures here. Starting at 7:00 a.m., the crew heats the screed, and within 30 minutes, the first load is arriving. Over the course of each day’s nine-hour shift, the crew lays between 750 and 800 tons of mix.
Steve Ayers, area manager for Ajax is pleased with the production. “We can complete this entire street in one pass instead of two, saving us time and money.”
At this time, Ajax has added three Volvo P7170 pavers to the machine lineup for use on projects throughout the state of Florida.
As for The Road Bond Project, when fully completed next year it will provide North Port commuters—seasonal and year-round residents alike—a smooth enough ride to take a sip of coffee without encountering a bump in the road.