Marlene Feist, Public Works Director of Strategic Development, 509.625.6505
Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 10:44 a.m.
Orange construction cones arrived on Indian Trail Road this week—signaling the start of new street work that’s designed to aid in our community’s economic recovery from the effects of the global pandemic.
Last spring, the City announced that it would add $10 million in street maintenance work to be done during 2020 and 2021 to provide a boost to economic activity. Since that time, the City selected the projects, designed them, and then bid out the work to the private sector. And this week, construction activity began.
“Increasing public infrastructure construction is an important part of our work to address the significant economic challenges resulting from efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19,” says Mayor Nadine Woodward. “We are putting dollars to work to put community members to work, while improving conditions for the traveling public.”
The additional investment was part of recommendations from the Mayor’s Economic Recovery and Stimulus Task Force, a group convened by the Mayor to focus on economic recovery. The new work complements street maintenance work that was already planned for 2020 and 2021 by the Street Department. The new investments, plus the Street Department work, will improve a total of about 60 miles of arterials during 2020 and 2021.
Here is the look at the additional economic recovery work planned for this fall and the estimated schedule for each project, which includes grinding down the existing pavement and laying down a new top layer of asphalt. Half of the projects are being done by Inland Asphalt and the other half by Shamrock Paving.
In addition to grind and overlay work, the maintenance work also includes chip seal work and crack sealing. The chip seal process involves applying a layer of liquid asphalt followed by a layer of small rock chips. Applied at the right time, this technique helps to lengthen the life of a street at significantly less cost than a traditional grind and overlay. Crack sealing keeps water from getting into the cracks in the asphalt that lead to potholes and other damage.
The additional investment totals about 10 percent of the amount that has been invested in our street system over the last five years, the City’s Public Works Director Scott Simmons noted. “Our citizens will notice a difference.”
A comprehensive street maintenance strategy is a key component of the City’s 20-year arterial street plan that’s designed to raise the overall condition of the arterial street system and to maintain those streets over time.
Maintenance work allows the City to “keep the good streets good.” Crack sealing, chip sealing, and grind and overlay maintenance work effectively extend the life of streets that have been reconstructed. The work also can be used to keep streets usable until more expensive repairs can be scheduled.