MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 2, 2012

On surface, city has good plan

Infrastructure is a cornerstone to attracting new businesses and jobs.

Quality roads are a major piece of that infrastructure puzzle.

Good roads are good for the citizens and help businesses grow through ease and convenience of travel. Good roads also make a great impression on visitors, including those who might be able to influence the decision-making process of job relocation.

The Muskogee City Council has made a bold move to fixing our run-down streets by, essentially, ignoring the worst-comes-first prevalent attitude.

The council’s plan is to concentrate on the roads that can be repaired for the least amount of money in order to repair more roads. The plan extends the money set aside for road repair to handle many more projects.

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.

City roads have a pavement condition index (PCI) of 59, which is about average for cities of similar size and age.

To make a dent in the necessary repairs, the city would have to spend about $47.5 million. To maintain the roads in their present condition, the city would have to spend $2.7 million annually.

The city only has about $900,000 budgeted.

By targeting one of five areas annually for five years, the city can raise the PCI by 10 points. Better quality streets mean less expensive future maintenance.

The city also is using a process called microsurfacing, which 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.

Microsurfacing costs less than half of what traditional overlays average.

Microsurfacing will save money that can allow more work to be done.

The city has a solid plan in place to fix a continuing problem.

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