Financial and volunteer support to preserve the unique ecology and cultural heritage of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and to educate the public about its importance.

Work on Janes Scenic Drive

FOF April 8, 2015 News and Events

The rainy season of 2014, along with traffic, took a major toll on Jane’s Scenic Drive (i.e. pot holes galore). Many of the holes past Gate 12 (East Main) were very deep. Some were so deep that if a vehicle tried to go straight through it, the vehicle would most likely end up hung up on its frame and nose down in the hole.

Pull materials from side to center.

Pull materials from side to center.

Fill was ordered and a skid loader rented. On January 9th, 12th, and 13th twelve loads of fill, totaling 263.65 tons, were delivered. The skid loader was delivered on January 12th. Work started just past the water treatment plant and, as of the writing of this article, is still going on. The area between Gate 12 and Gate 19 was extremely rough and full of holes due to the road being worked on by a grader early in 2014, but not finished. Then the weather in conjunction with traffic led to increased deterioration of the road surface.

The primary targets were the bigger holes and secondary targets were the smaller holes. Many of the holes, especially the bigger ones, were not totally filled. The intent was to make them passable to the end of the road and then go back and finish filling. When weather did not permit filling holes, some blade work (grading) was done on the first mile and a half of the road. Some blade work has also been done starting at Gate 15 towards Gate 19.

1JSD_repair2

Finished crown of road.

Several offsite volunteers offered to help again this year, but due to equipment issues (we had one tractor, one dump truck, and one skid loader) plus an additional onsite volunteer, we did not need as many people. (There was also a two-week period where the dump truck was in the shop for hydraulic ram repairs.) In the past 55 days, over 345 hours of volunteer time have been spent on the road.

On February 8th, it was determined that more fill would be needed, so on February 13th, an additional five loads of fill (140 tons paid for by the Florida Park Service) were delivered for the road and FPS culvert project. Still more may be required. (If anyone wishes to help the cause, $372.00 will buy a load of fill, which is approximately 22 tons.)

Repair of JSD will continue from year to year as needed. However, a person might ask, “what causes these holes, so many and some so deep?” Let’s start with the vehicle traffic. Traveling at high speeds (over 15–‐20 mph) doesn’t help the road. In fact, higher speeds push the rock to the side and tend to create ruts and washboard areas. This is worse when going through holes and damage is even more amplified when the holes contain water.

Yet to be mentioned are the base of the road and the culverts. First, the base of the road was constructed years ago of timber and large rock. The wood in the base has begun to disintegrate  and  move  (as  evidenced  by  looking  into  the deeper holes). Secondly, some of the culverts are failing (this issue is being worked on by the Park Service) and once a culvert has failed, water will build up and seek weak areas of the road to get to the other side, which will wash out the under side of the road as it passes through. The result appears to be much like a sinkhole. This in conjunction with speed of vehicles and water in the holes add up to larger holes as the vehicles go through them.

Unfortunately, the effort of filling holes in the road may be a yearly effort until the road gets major construction work, possibly even rebuilt and even then, some maintenance will be required from time to time. Until then, if people want to reduce the wear and tear on the road, lower speeds and going around water (instead of through it) will go a long way toward reducing the size and number of holes. “Slow down and enjoy the beautiful scenery” is what I tell them when I’m on the road.

Don Leonard  visits  the Fak to volunteer each winter with his wife
Dee, who also helps out.