The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday gave approval to solicit bids for resurfacing with the bulk of the work expected to commence about mid-May. Aldermen have finalized their priorities for work throughout the city with $1.6 million in bond funding. A complete list of included streets will be published at a later date.
“The aldermen and the mayor and I spent a long time going through a long list of what needs to be done,” said Street Commissioner Philip Verdung, “and we’ve tried to narrow it down based on two things: Of the projects that can be done now, which are the most severe and which carry the most traffic.”
He acknowledged that there are plenty more streets in the city that are not on the list that could use some asphalt.
“For every one here, there are probably three or four more that need it,” said Verdung. “You’ve got to find a place to start.”
The timing is wrong for some streets.
“There’s an ongoing drainage assessment and sewer assessment in the city, so there are certain roads that we can’t do right now,” he said. “For instance, there’s a section of Webster Street that I know people want done, but we can’t do it right now because once the assessment phase of this sewer assessment is completed, there will be some sewer work that’s done there. So we don’t want to do the surfacing now and then tear the street up later.”
While heavily traveled thoroughfares such as Fulton Drive and Shiloh Road are on the list, many residential streets will also see paving. Several blocks around the courthouse will see paving, and Verdung hopes to greatly improve North Madison Street’s condition.
The developing Wick Street area will get some extensive work with sidewalks and additional parking.
“Where there’s private investment, we would like to bring some public investment as well,” said Verdung.
Towards the end of the construction period, whatever funds are left will go toward paving on Purdy School Road and Forrest School Road.
The work will also include a turning lane on Proper Street at Pinecrest to accommodate trucks traveling to a Kimberly Clark warehouse on Pinecrest. Verdung said this should help keep those big trucks from taking Kendrick Road into the city and getting stuck in residential areas. As the streets are now, there is not enough room for the trucks to make that turn from Proper to Pinecrest.
Verdung also plans changes to the city’s signage restricting truck traffic. He believes there are too many and that truckers are not always heeding them.
“We are going to redo most of that signage and put up some more informative signs for these truck drivers so they know what hazards are ahead and they know how to get out of the downtown if they get into it,” he said.