Is everyone else as happy as I am that winter is finally done? For most it’s finally starting to feel like spring. Ahh spring, for some spring means lilacs blooming, morel mushrooms popping and the smell of the first cut grass of the year.
For the Street Department it means construction season is here. Yes, it’s that time of the year again where you’re going to start seeing orange work signs, construction cones and possibly detours.
Part of my job as City Street Superintendent is to monitor the conditions of all city streets. Every time I’m out I take down notes about the condition of the certain streets or alleys I’m on. I take these notes and together with City Engineer James Burroughs use them to put together the cities 1 and 6 year street plan.
Each year we find the projects that need the most attention and fit them into my budget the best we can. Some years we have bigger projects which take up more budget therefore resulting in less projects being planned for that year.
Each year about this time I like to go over the City’s 1 and 6 street plan and give updates on upcoming or ongoing projects. This year the city looks to complete the Bell Street concrete reconstruction that began last fall. The Bell Street project replaced a stretch from 10th to 12th Street that had severe surface spalling along with poor curbing.
This summer we are planning to replace an asphalt section of Sargent Street between Ashland and Ridgeview Streets. Replacing this asphalt section with concrete will connect both Ashland and Ridgeview which are already concrete.
Each summer we try to complete mill and overlay projects. When a street is milled a large machine called a mill is used grind the surface of the roadway down to a certain depth. When the surface is milled it is then swept clean and a layer of tack oil is sprayed onto the surface to help bond the new asphalt with the existing roadway. The new asphalt is then rolled to seal and for compaction. Our truck routes handle a tremendous amount of truck traffic and for this reason we mill off 3 inches of asphalt. On our local residential streets were truck traffic is minimal we mill 2 inches. On the streets that are being milled we also take this time to have the contractor replace all non-conforming ADA wheel chair ramps at each corner. On longer projects with multiple ramps replacing each ADA ramp is often the most expensive part of the project.
This summer we plan to complete the mill and overlay of the truck route by replacing Market Street from 2nd to 6th Street and 7th Street from Market to Court Street. Last summer we milled the truck route on the north side of Court Street. We are also planning on milling 4th Street from Ella to Market Street. In a normal construction year we would look to have these mill and overlay projects completed by late August at the latest.
This year mill and overlay projects may be affected due the terrible flooding that destroyed sections of interstate, highways and bridges in the northeast part of the state. With the vast amount of construction work that is required to repair major roadways municipal projects away from flood damaged areas may be put off until that work is completed.
This year we also have armor coats planned for multiple asphalt streets. When armor coating a street a contractor will spray an emulsified oil down onto the street surface approximately .32 inches thick. They will then evenly spread an aggregate material such as gravel onto the oil and roll it into the oiled surface.
As the oil cools the material becomes hard and any excess gravel is swept up and removed. Armor coating streets seals small cracks in the surface and for the price per square foot of roadway is in my opinion one of the best ways to prolong the life of the street.
This year we will armor coat stretches of 8th Street from Ella to Elk, 12th Street from Market to Ella, 13th Street from Court to Market, Brown Street from 7th to 8th, Ella Street from 7th to Hayes and Market Street from 7th to 10th.
As always if you see a construction zone please slow down and watch for workers.