“We have started on about half the streets on our list, but we haven’t finished any of them,” Bentley said. “We are in various stages of patching, milling and other prep work.”
About 20 streets are slated for the project, which began late last year. Bentley said they are on schedule to be done before the projected May 31 date, but it is hard to determine what needs to be done to a street until work the work on it begins.
“There is a lot more to paving than meets the eye,” he said. “It’s more than just adding a layer of asphalt. You have to have a decent base, get your drainage right and check on several other factors before you can lay asphalt.”
To keep track of the costs, Bentley said the job is done per unit.
“I don’t know the exact cost it will take to do a street until we dig it up,” He said. “We recently worked on Cloverdale Drive, and it was in bad shape. The base was much worse than anticipated.”
Bentley said the severely damaged base was the result of heavy trucks passing on the street.
“I think the figure is something like one loaded truck causes as much damage as 5,000 cars,” Bentley said. “This is one reason we are talking about getting smaller garbage trucks in these areas. We have to keep heavy traffic off residential streets.”
Bentley said the extra money spent to repair Cloverdale could take money away from other streets on the project.
“We should know by next month whether we can do all the streets we planned for in our budget,” Bentley said. “We’re hoping it will even out. Some streets we anticipated problems with may not be there, so that money could go toward other streets. Each unit changes as you go through the job.”
Bentley said the state of the city’s streets, many of which he said are long overdue for paving, creates more work on a tight budget.
“When your streets are in good condition, all you have to do is repave the street,” he said. “But our streets have gotten really high, and we can’t keep going up, so we are having to mill down what we have been overlaying for years.”
The problem is not unique to Sylacauga though, Bentley said.
“This is really hitting all the small cities right now,” he said. “It’s a matter of the infrastructure deteriorating at a time when funding is also. Ideally, we could do paving annually, but we can’t without additional funding.”
McCartney Construction of Gadsden is handling the paving and is currently working on Main Avenue and East Second Street. Work on Fairmont Road and Jane Street will begin next week.
Bentley said there are more streets in need of paving outside of what the budget allows.
“We’re trying to help the greatest number of taxpayers,” he said. “We had to consider the road’s condition, the amount of traffic and the cost of repairing it. Some streets also rolled over from the last paving project, which was about five years ago, which means they are in worse condition now. We’re doing the best we can with the money we have.”
Streets initially planned for the project were: Hubbard Road, Strickland and Foster roads, Player Circle, Pope Circle, Cloverdale Drive, Jane Street, East Second Street, Porter Circle, South Anniston Avenue, Morris Avenue, Lewis Avenue, Western Boulevard, Goodgame Lane, Ann Circle, Fairmont Road, South Highland Avenue, Main Avenue from First to Fourth street intersections, Country Drive, Porter Avenue South, Elm Avenue and Billingsley Road.
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