Study finds most Baldwin City streets in good shape
The majority of Baldwin City streets are in good to excellent shape, but the city needs to spend $160,000 a year to keep them that way, according to a study commissioned by the Baldwin City Council.
Council members Christi Darnell and Shane Starkey, of the council’s public works committee, gave a brief summary of the study Aug. 5 to their fellow council members. The city hired Norm Bowers, former engineer with Johnson County Public Works, late last year to do the $10,000 study. Bowers inventoried the 26.5 miles of streets in the city, rated their condition, plotted deterioration rates and made maintenance recommendations.
Darnell and Starkey said the report gave the council a tool to determine how much to budget for street maintenance and which streets needed attention.
The council used that information in passing a 2014 budget, which earmarks $200,000 to overlay the asphalt and chip-seal street sections that Bowers rated poor.
The council also approved a $121,880 contract with Killough Construction for this year’s asphalt resurfacing work. The company is to mill and overlay Firetree Avenue, Flame Way and Blaze Boulevard. Overlay only is planned for Quayle, Eisenhower and Washington streets.
To stay on top of maintenance, Bowers recommends a schedule for all asphalt streets to receive a mill and overlay every 18 years, and that the asphalt cap of chip-seal streets be replaced every 13 years. Adding to the city’s maintenance expense in the coming years is the need to resurface streets in new subdivisions built in the 1990s, the report states.
If the city spent $160,000 a year on maintenance it could resurface about 1,600 feet of asphalt street, replace the asphalt cap on 7,400 feet of chip-seal streets and crack seal a quarter of city streets. Before the recession forced cutbacks in the annual program, Bowers found, the city averaged 6,300 feet of overlay annually from 1991 through 2008.
Bowers found 6 percent of the city’s streets to be in excellent condition and 61 percent to be in good condition. Only 9 percent were found to be in poor condition.
However, the ratings varied with the type of street, with the city’s asphalt streets rated the highest and its 1.86 miles of brick streets the lowest. There are no brick streets in the city rated excellent. Eight percent of brick surface streets are rated good, 80 percent fair and 12 percent poor.
The brick portion of Ninth Street is the lowest-rated street in the city, Darnell said.
Unlike the asphalt or chip-seal streets rated poor, there is no immediate recommendation to improve Ninth Street or other bad sections of brick streets. Instead, Bowers suggests further discussion on brick streets. Darnell said that whether brick streets, other than those in the historic downtown sections of Eighth and High streets, should remain brick is up for discussion.
Bowers was unable to attend the Aug. 5 meeting but is set to present his findings to the council at an upcoming meeting.
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