MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 24, 2012

City ‘has turned corner’ on street work

Council OKs project bid change, microsurfacing

Muskogee’s five-year street-maintenance program is on track to complete work on the city’s northwest side on or shortly after July 1. City councilors approved two measures Monday that will move the program forward.

The first involved a revision of a resolution lifting the mandate that contractors bidding on certain public improvement projects hire 50 percent of workers locally. The second involved the approval of a $296,000 microsurfacing project.

Public Works Director Mike Stewart said with those two pieces in place and other work that’s been completed, the city is making progress toward raising its pavement condition index.

“We feel we are on the right path,” Stewart said. “We can do better with more money, but I hope you understand we have turned the corner on this.”

Stewart’s comments came during an update on the city’s pavement management program. The program is part of a plan that included a permanent sales tax to fund street maintenance and improvement and the creation of a committee to guide decisions.

Fred Stephenson, a representative of Infrastructure Management Services, laid out the the program and its objectives for city councilors.

“What we want to get away from is the worst-first program,” Stephenson said about the drive to repair the most distressed streets first. “We want to get to the roads that aren’t so bad and don’t cost so much to repair so we can do more roads.”

Stephenson said a citywide assessment of Muskogee’s streets revealed a pavement condition index of 59, which is about average for cities of similar size and age. A rating of 100, Stephenson said, would be the best.

But Muskogee, Stephenson said, has a lot of streets ranging between a PCI of 40 and 70. Those are the streets being targeted by the pavement management program.

In order to make the repairs necessary, Stephenson said it would cost about $47.5 million. Just to maintain the PCI of 59, it would cost $2.7 million annually. With about $900,000 being budgeted, that work would never be completed.

Stewart said that’s why the program implemented targets only one of five areas annually for five years. Stewart said by doing this, the PCI can be raised about 10 points, which increases the quality of street surfaces. That makes future maintenance less expensive.

The program now includes microsurfacing of some streets. Microsurfacing involves the application of a liquefied mixture of dense-graded aggregate, asphalt emulsion, water and mineral fillers that harden to form a new road surface.

Stephenson said microsurfacing costs less than half of what traditional overlays average — about $3 a square yard compared with $7.50 a square yard. Stewart said the cost savings will allow more work to be done.

Stewart said while the worst roads may not be first in line for the program, they will be maintained.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.

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