Street Department to tackle paving with increased funding

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, January 27, 2016

City of Elizabethton
Now that the economy is beginning to recover, the Elizabethton Street Department has plans to continue resurfacing the city’s roadways this Spring. A total of 10 streets have been identified for repair by Streets and Sanitation Manager Danny Hilbert and a member of the Engineering Department.
“Streets along main routes are more important to repair first, but residential streets are the ones in pretty poor shape, and that’s because we have to mill up old pavement,” said Hilbert. “When the economy went South, our resurfacing efforts suffered. We didn’t have the money to do it, so it has caused us to have more streets to repair than what we normally would.”
Though Hilbert only requested $250,000 for repairs for the 2015-16 fiscal year, City Council approved $350,000 in June.
“The Council really sees the need for this as well as the City Manager, so they are in support of allocating as much funds as they can to get the streets in good shape,” said Hilbert. “With that kind of money, people can see the difference being made.”
He thanked Council members and city officials for their graciousness in allocating the funds. Councilman Bill Carter said this is one project that directly benefits citizens and is a prime example of one of the city’s greatest needs.
“Pavement is expensive, but one of the things that we’re tasked with is maintaining the quality of life in Elizabethton and investing money outside of City Hall to do that,” Carter said.
The priority list includes 10 streets which are determined based on greatest state of need, amount of traffic usage and citizen concern. Hilbert did not name the streets because he said that it could change as needs arise and as funds are allocated for the top priorities. Some are more expensive and will take longer than others to complete, he said.
Additionally, the Street Department has to coordinate with the Utilities Department to ensure that they do not resurface a road that needs work on water or sewer lines.
Some members of the Planning Commission voiced concerns in January’s meeting of a street on which the storm drains are lower than the asphalt and manholes elevated above the paving.
“This happens when repairs have been done in the past, and the road has not been grated up and replaced, but just paved over,” said Hilbert. “When we replace roads now, all this is grated up and relaid fresh to prevent these types of issues.”
This is most important on roads with curbs, Hilbert said, because raising the level of the road to the curb would eventually create drainage issues.
If the milling of the old pavement is less tasking than anticipated, Hilbert said they may be able to repair more roads than planned.
Last year, the department resurfaced East K Street, Williams Avenue, Bonnie Kate Boulevard, Katelyn Drive, Bluefield Avenue, Monument Avenue, one alley and sections of South Riverside Drive and Lynn Avenue.
“Hopefully we’re going to cover a lot more ground this Spring by having more money to do it with,” said Hilbert.

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