The Streets Department assesses the condition of each road, the life expectancy of the current surface, and the rate of use to determine the priority of road repairs. Repairs include patching or chip sealing to preserve them. The work being done now is maintenance only; no street replacement is scheduled even though it is sorely needed. Public Works is hoping to budget for some paving next year in conjunction with the Whitshed project, but at almost $500,000 per mile, it is an expensive task.
You may have seen the street crews out working on the potholes around town. The photos show the crew out on Friday, August 30th, our last really nice day. When the weather broke, every available hand from all departments dropped their current tasks and priorities to help out. There was a total of 8 people getting as much done as possible before the weather turned again. The crews used three pieces of equipment – a sweeper, a grader, and a loader. All three are well past the 10-20 year life expectancy, and average 30 years old. They each burn approximately 5 gallons of fuel an hour and require a little heavy lifting from our maintenance shop to keep them running. From a fi nancial standpoint, the assets are depreciated off our books over time, however, the City still needs to maintain insurance coverage on them as long as they are in use.
Could we do better? You bet! Paving all of the City’s 14.6 miles of road surfaces would certainly be an improvement. Is it reasonable, given the cost? New equipment would likely be more fuel effi cient, require less maintenance, and allow for asset depreciation – however, the fi nancial investment is a huge consideration for a community this size. A new sweeper is $150,000, a loader is $350,000 and a grader is $375,000. In the big picture, even a small project like this reflects big financial considerations.