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Too many potholes? St. Cloud looks to sue contractor who built downtown roads

ST.CLOUD, Fla. — Graham Firth looked with amusement at the street out in front of his downtown St. Cloud office.

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One by one, cars rumbled by – jostling and shaking as they passed over one pothole after the next.

“Terrible,” he said. “It’s like a roller coaster, very bumpy, very uneven.”

It’s not uncommon to hear residents complain about a city’s roads and call for change, but 10th Street is different. The road is practically brand-new, and crews have already come out numerous times to patch the bricks up.

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Firth said the bricks had been laid on top of a layer of sand, which has been pushed up by rainwater, causing cavities underneath the bricks that become potholes when driven over by cars.

The divots – one after another – have been the source of discomfort for months. One woman, yelling out of her window as she drove by, claimed her friend broke her wrist while navigating the street.

The city ordered the repaving of 10th Street and others as part of their years-long downtown revitalization project in hopes of attracting more businesses and people.

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Instead, drivers like Josh Fertic, who also owns a business downtown, said they avoid it at all costs.

“It’s an easy hop, skip, and a jump just to cut through town here, and I choose to take a detour,” Fertic said.

In a press release emailed late on Friday, St. Cloud staff said they hired an attorney to pursue litigation against the contractor who installed the bricks, and the two sides were currently in pre-litigation mediation.

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“We understand the public’s frustration; we are not satisfied with the results either,” Assistant City Manager Dave Tomek said in the prepared statement. “By virtue of City Council authorizing us to bring in a litigation specialist, it is clear that the City is committed to doing whatever it takes to make this situation right and to ensure the finished product is one we can all be proud of.”

The contractor, Cathcart Construction Company, declined to comment when contacted Monday.

“They need to tear the whole thing up or at least the bricks and put gravel or something better down underneath it,” Firth said.

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