By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer
Work is expected to begin by the end of September on about a dozen major street resurfacing projects scheduled throughout Muskogee.
The milling and overlay projects will be funded by a $2.5 million grant approved in April by City of Muskogee Foundation board members. Officials anticipated work would begin earlier, but several issues that surfaced delayed the process.
The pavement maintenance projects primarily will address deteriorating pavement conditions on arterial streets that serve commercial districts. The remainder of the milling, asphalt overlay and striping projects will upgrade some major collector streets.
Public Works Director Mike Stewart said the 11 projects — two additional projects have been identified for inclusion if bids come in lower than original estimates — that will be funded by the foundation grant will be bid as a single project. Stewart said the broad scope of those projects and the possible inclusion of bicycle lanes on some of those streets has posed some problems with planning and logistics.
“This is going to be one big project, and it is going to be an interesting project,” Stewart said. “I will have people upset because traffic flows will be disrupted, but we will work closely with the contractor to keep some of those lanes open while the work progresses.”
Stewart said the plans were finalized this past week, and he expects the proposal for bids will be ready for publication this week. There will be a 21-day period during which bids may be submitted. The citizens’ street committee, Stewart said, will be involved with a selection process that will precede the City Council review.
The projects were identified after the completion last year of a block-by-block assessment of Muskogee’s streets. The assessment revealed an overall pavement condition index of 59 out of 100, which Stewart said is about average for cities of similar size and age in Oklahoma.
Stewart said the streets selected for the resurfacing project package have PCI ratings that range from 40 to 70. Once the work is completed, the PCI rating for those streets will improve to 90 once the milling, asphalt overlays and striping are completed.
Once work begins, barring adverse weather conditions, Stewart said substantial completion would be attained in about 60 days. It could take another 30 days for final completion.
In addition to the mill and overlay projects, Stewart said the city will continue to chip away at a five-year maintenance plan approved after voters passed a quarter-cent sales tax in 2009. Three major projects on the slate are in various stages of completion. The South York Street widening project is in full swing, and officials are preparing bid packets for Martin Luther King Street improvements.
Stewart said the 24th Street project is on hold until the Martin Luther King street project is bid out.
“As we get projects off our lists, we are putting more projects on,” Stewart said.
The City of Muskogee Foundation is a nonprofit corporation formed in 2008 by the city to develop, support and promote programs designed to improve the quality of life in Muskogee.
The foundation is funded with proceeds from the 40-year lease of the city’s hospital — now known as EASTAR Health System — to Capella Healthcare. A portion of its returns on the investment of that money is used to fund grants designed to promote its mission.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.