Dayton, Kentucky streets caving in because of outdated infrastructure

by Jennifer Sierra

IMG_4123Dayton, Kentucky streets are in major disrepair and there is a good reason for this. According to Dayton City Administrator, Michael Giffen, “Streets can collapse for several reasons.  Dayton has been around since the 1800’s so just like other Ohio River communities, we still have some old infrastructure underground that eventually falls into disrepair.  This is probably the most common cause of issues in the road.  Old infrastructure can be in the form of utility lines or a poor road base that was used for road construction during an era where standards were different.  Several utility lines run under our streets (gas, sanitary, water, etc.), that could all break for various reasons at any time.  When one of these lines break signs of damage could show up within days, but other breaks may take months or even years before any signs of a break is noticeable to the public.  The signs of a damaged line can come in different forms, but the most frequent are sink holes that open in sidewalks or the public way.  The utility companies in our region visit our city every day inspecting and working on long term projects to replace old infrastructure with new lines to limit the frequency of breaks.  When utility companies come in to make repairs they are usually only responsible for repairing the road in the particular area they are working.  This is why you will see rectangular patches on various streets throughout the city.  In some instances the homeowner may be responsible for road repairs if the sink hole was caused by a broken lateral line (however SD1 may be reinstating the program to cover this repair again).  We try to coordinate with the utility companies on their yearly scheduled repairs.  If we know a street is due for a major utility line repair we will add the entire street to the paving list the following fall so the scars from the repair aren’t noticeable.  Typically these are the streets that are at the top of our list to repave anyway.”

Giffen went on to add, “I think Dayton has some of the nicest streets in the region and we do a great job of making repairs each year to the ones that need it most.  Can we get to all of the streets that are in need of repair every year? No, but we are constantly monitoring their status to make sure the ones that need it most are at the top of the list.”

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The two worst street issues are on Dayton Pike and Ervin Terrace, where the street is cracking and bubbling up like hot lava is flowing beneath it. “The city was aware the Northern Kentucky Water Company had a water main replacement project on their list for 2015 on Dayton Pike.  While the water company was replacing the water lines some of the road collapsed.  We called in the other utility companies to make sure their lines were not the cause of the issue and at the end of the day it turned out to be a faulty road base that caused the collapse.  In this case we are still waiting on the Northern Kentucky Water Company to come back to us with costs, but we don’t expect the city to be on the hook,” Giffen said. “On Ervin Terrace there have been several water main breaks over the years as you can tell from the several repair patches up and down the street.  When the severe storms hit a few weeks ago, the road began to warp, buckle and bend.  The city has met with Northern Kentucky Water several times and they are assessing the cost of the repair.  This street was not on their short list for water main replacement, so we are going to continue to work with them on what the best course of action will be for long term stability.

If these repairs don’t happen before winter sets in and the freeze – thaw cycles start, the people on Ervin Terrace especially are facing an even bigger mess. This situation is only going to worsen with time, rain, wear and tear and time is not on their side.


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