Budget Box: Aging Infrastructure and Environmental Stressors

By Shari Haldeman - sharih@landings.org
General Manager/COO, The Landings Association

The Landings Association was incorporated in 1972, so that means we celebrate our 50th birthday in 2022! This also means much of our original infrastructure for the earliest phases of our community’s development is almost 50 years old, including the roads and storm drain systems. Your annual property owners’ dues (Assessment) helps support the necessary and ongoing infrastructure repairs and replacements by funding the Capital Reserves Fund along with the Operating Fund.

On an annual basis, the Association’s Board of Directors approves the Capital Reserves Fund spending for specific repair and replacement projects as part of the overall Budget approval at the December Board Meeting. The projects scheduled for each year are identified through routine inspections and planned through the Capital Asset Management Plan (CAMP), a management tool that includes more than 1,000 assets and their remaining useful life, largely a function of age. However, the condition of the assets is further influenced by environmental stresses, including weather, root intrusions, original design and design capacity, as well as use impacts. Our preventive maintenance program is designed to maintain and monitor the assets for advance signs of deterioration to prevent catastrophic failure, with a goal of increasing the useful life of all assets.

Coupled with normal wear and tear due to age, we are experiencing accelerated asset deterioration resulting from substantial environmental stresses on our infrastructure, beginning in 2016 with the impact of Hurricane Matthew. Restoration from the storm required months of heavy equipment with heavy loads that stressed an aging infrastructure. The volume of heavy equipment and loads created constant pressure, and we are beginning to see the impact as normal ground settling occurs.

So far this year, there are three examples of environmental stresses on our aging infrastructure that have impacted the 2019 approved Budget. In April, TLA staff noticed that the Landings Way North loop behind the Main Gate had started to decline, causing multiple potholes and subsequent asphalt failures due to a deteriorating base of soil cement. Additionally, this “loop” is a heavily traveled section of the community (a pivot point for merging north), which accelerated the rate of deterioration. TLA staff and our engineers determined that this road was in urgent need of replacement to prevent complete failure, for a total cost of $49,844.

In June, a similar replacement was required on Shellwind Drive from the Deer Creek Village Gate to Moonbill Lane. This was a similar case in that this road had been repaired in several areas over the years, but the asphalt was failing throughout the roadway due to root intrusions, a deteriorating base, and an original asphalt layer of less than one inch in areas. Additionally, this area also receives an increased amount of traffic (Deer Creek Clubhouse, golf tournaments, etc.) which accelerates the formation of potholes and subsequent asphalt failures. This road section was replaced at a total cost of $225,161.

 In addition to the roads, The Landings Association also has storm drain pipes that are starting to fail. In October, staff and our contractor noticed a new failure within our storm drain system, located at the intersection of Landings Way North and Wiley Bottom Road adjacent to the Dog Park. This area served as the disaster grapple truck access to the storm debris staging site throughout 2017. The pipe is failing due to a joint separation, causing the curb and road to sink. This pipe is a critical part of The Landings’ storm drain system, connecting the two lagoons on either side of Landings Way North that are part of the larger stormwater management system. Landings Way North is a main roadway, essential for vehicular traffic in the community, thus requiring immediate repair and replacement. This drain and road repair will add an additional $53,500 to the overall annual storm drain repair and replacement program funded by our Capital Reserve in 2019.

Even with aggressive, ongoing, preventive maintenance, inspections, and independent engineering evaluations, we still are experiencing unbudgeted failures that we must address before they become catastrophic failure and require higher expenditures. All urgent projects that are not part of the adopted budget are approved and authorized as necessary by the Finance Committee and Board of Directors. TLA Staff, engineers, and contractors will continue to proactively work together to address infrastructure needs within the community and report these issues to our property owners. In addition, our independent Reserve Study will further support this critical work.

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

Visit landings.org to read the original article.