It is a centerpiece on Laura Street, a roundabout made of Belgian blocks that gives motorists a very bumpy ride. Jacksonville's Public Works Director Joey Duncan said that it is designed for that purpose.
"It is a traffic calming defect that is the design here; you want to slow people down," said Duncan.
But now the city is taking a second look at the design. The engineering department discovered that the sand between the blocks is washing out.
"We started noticing sand in the storm drain. We realized immediately something was not working right," he said.
It is a $2.7 million project. So what happened?
"They were put in to the specifications; it called for grouting just like you do pavers," said Duncan.
Duncan said the rains and heavy vibration from the vehicles caused the blocks to loosen.
"They are going to have to redo the entire roundabout," said Duncan.
Duncan said the sand between the blocks in the roundabout will be replaced with a cement-type grout. There's an additional cost, but who pays that cost is yet to be determined.
Also yet to be determined is who is responsible: the engineering design, the contractor or the city.
"There will definitely be negotiations about who is responsible," said Duncan.
Duncan said since they caught the problem now, they were able to make changes at Bay and Laura and the other intersections.
He is confident the cement grout will fix the the problem with the blocks around the roundabout.
"It shouldn't wash out; we shouldn't have problems with that," he said.
This project is scheduled for completion Spring 2011. But the city hasn't determined if the work here in the roundabout will be done concurrently with the work on the other end of Laura or after that portion is finished.
That means the completion date could change. As for the additional cost, Duncan said he won't know until after the holidays.