By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
Fairmont’s spring street-paving projects have been approved and will be underway soon.
The project will use around 9,200 tons of asphalt and will cost around $730,000.
City Manager Jay Rogers said that, weather permitting, the city is planning on starting the spring street paving May 12.
Rogers said the city will finish its “long run” paving of longer roads, like Virginia Avenue, Benoni Avenue, Walnut Avenue and Gaston Avenue, which will allow them to tackle other areas.
“It’s going to allow us to get into a bit of neighborhood paving here in the spring, which we don’t typically do,” Rogers said.
The city has both a spring and fall paving cycle, and typically focuses on longer streets in the spring.
“We’re looking at some of those college areas and hoping that the students have gotten out and traffic will be less,” Rogers said.
In addition to the longer streets, there are 14 neighborhood streets that will be paved that would not normally be completed during spring paving.
“It’s a big list for spring, but it will be effective,” Rogers said.
The streets paved will include 13th Street near East-West Stadium, which suffered a 10-inch water line break last summer, lower Hillcrest Road, Virginia Avenue from Seventh Street to Fourth Street, Gaston Avenue to Third Street, to Fourth Street on Walnut Avenue, and to Fifth Street on Benoni Avenue and Coleman Avenue.
The project will also include some of Fourth Street, due to the delays in the replacement of the Fourth Street Bridge.
“Because the delay is there, we are going to start paving Fourth Street itself,” Rogers said. “The last conversation we had about the bridge project probably sets it another two years out, maybe three years before it’s complete, and that’s too long to not pave Fourth Street.”
The bridge itself, however, will not be paved this spring.
“We can’t do the bridge because of the weight restrictions. You can’t get the asphalt truck or the paver out there to do it,” Rogers said.
The paving list is generated by the Public Works Department each year. The department starts evaluating streets in the fall. This allows them to make a comparison between a street’s condition in the fall and after the winter season.
“There’s a rating system used for all of the streets, and the rating system takes into account when the street was paved last, surface cracks and if it has a deteriorated base,” Rogers said.
They also take into account if the road is a major road or leads to a major road.
When they do neighborhood paving, they try to do many streets in the same neighborhood.
“Then they’re completely out of there,” Rogers said.
This keeps projects from creating traffic delays in the same neighborhood for years at a time.
But the process for long roads is different.
“They know that if we pave from First Street all the way to 13th Street, just Virginia Avenue would almost wipe out your whole budget,” Rogers said. “So the approach has been to piecemeal that so they can get more done.”
After the list is generated, it is sent on to the Utilities Department and the gas company to make sure there are no conflicts with water, sewer and gas lines. Finally, it goes to the city so they can look at budgeting and estimate the cost of the proposed project.
“It’s a good exercise that gets our departments working together between public works and utilities, and lets us prioritize projects,” Rogers said.
While some things are unpredictable, like the major water line break on 13th Street by East-West Stadium that damaged the road last summer, Rogers said the departments try to coordinate their projects so that they don’t have a water line replacement scheduled directly after a road has been repaved.
This year’s spring paving project is more ambitious than previous years. The city will spend an estimated $730,000 and use around 9,200 tons of asphalt. In the spring of 2013, the city spent approximately $550,000 and used 6,700 tons, and in 2012 the city spent $212,000 and used 2,600 tons of asphalt.
The fall paving list has been generated and is being reviewed by the Utilities Department.
Email Colleen S. Good at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.