Photo by Bryce Phillips Wavy intersection of East Elk and North Sycamore.
Photo by Bryce Phillips
Work to remove the ruts from the intersection of East Elk Avenue and
Sycamore Street is expected to begin in mid-May.

City set to solve rut woes

Published 10:46am Monday, April 14, 2014

When spring comes, a city’s thoughts turn to … asphalt.
Work to remove the ruts from a busy downtown intersection is expected to begin sometime in May when temperatures increase enough to allow asphalt work.
City Council approved a second reading of a budget amendment increasing street infrastructure spending by $125,000 and capital outlay expenditures by $50,000, clearing the way for the work to begin.
The $125,000 will be used to rework the intersection of East Elk Avenue and Sycamore Street to remove rutted asphalt at the traffic light. The work will also add new alternate-color crosswalks to the intersection.
City Manager Jerome Kitchens said an engineer took a core sample from the roadway and determined four inches of asphalt should be removed to stabilize the surface.
Kitchens said the damage happened because the correct asphalt mix had not been used the last time the road was resurfaced. He said the correct mixture would be used this time and it should stop the problem.
The work on the intersection will begin in the area around The Dressing Room, in the second block of East Elk. The asphalt will be removed from there to slightly past the other side of the intersection. Because the pavement will be removed, the new crosswalks will be installed when the pavement is put back down.
“This is not going to be done to all of East Elk Avenue,” Kitchens said. “We are trying to cure one problem and take steps to make the crosswalks more evident in downtown.”
When construction does start, Kitchens said the plan was to do the construction during evenings and weekends to cause the least amount of traffic disruption as possible. He said the contractor believes the temperatures will be warm enough to do the asphalt work in mid-May.
“We need the average temperature to be 50 degrees when we start,” Kitchens said. “We were told it would take five days to do, but that could end up being longer. It is possible that part of the street would be ground down over a weekend and it would cause an inconvenience, but I think it is worth it.”
The $50,000 will be used to make improvements to sections of the canopies over the sidewalks along East Elk Avenue with the ultimate goal of repairing all the sidewalk canopies.
The project will focus on repairing spots where the worst leaks were occurring.
“We have some places where water is leaking through the electrical service,” Kitchens said. “We need to take care of that first. It is a good occasion to show we are putting an emphasis on downtown by fixing the problems that are there and enhancing the areas that are not a problem.”
To refinish all of the canopies would cost an estimated $460,000. Kitchens said the canopies would be examined and a priority list would be made. He said his goal was to have a $50,000 appropriation set into each year’s budget just to have the canopies repaired.
“I see the support to finish this project over time,” he said. “It is expensive and we can only do so much at once. If we do this in a fiscally conservative manner, we can do it all.”

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