Town tabs 14 streets for repaving

kjahner@newsobserver.comMay 23, 2014 

— The town engineering staff settled on a list of streets to be resurfaced this year with state gas tax money, a figure that has been receeding since the start of the recession.

Pinewinds Drive, Virginia Avenue, Sycamore Drive and Edgebrook Drive stand at the front of the line for the town. A contractor will work its way through a list of 14 projects in all for just under the $400,000 budgeted for the repavings.

“Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to pave all the streets that need paving, so we proceed in a logical way down the list,” town engineer Tony Chalk said.

The slower economy combined with increasingly fuel-efficient costs have tempered fuel consumption growth. That, along with a tighter post-recession state budget, cuts into tax revenue distributed by the state through the “Powell Bill” program to local governments based on a formula incorporating total miles and widths of roads.

The funding comes every two years: the last pre-recession check came in 2007 for $821,413, compared to about $359,000 in 2009 and $374,000 in 2011.

Chalk said that a block-by-block survey of every street in Garner helps the engineering staff determine which streets to take a close look at, but also noted that a particularly bad block didn’t necessarily equate to a top-priority street.

“I don’t think people want us repaving one block of a road,” Chalk said.

Instead, the town fixes the streets that would provide the most efficient bang for its buck, incorporating the road’s use as well as its condition and the likelihood of further (and potentially costly) deterioration. Particularly bad isolated spots can also be repaired through patching by public works, a separate budget item.

Other roads that made the cut for work this year include, in the order that work will begin: Bluegrass Court, Argyle Court, Claymore Drive, Wilton Meadow Drive, Hobsonwood Court, Windbluff Court and South Wade Avenue.

The last three to make the cut were Baldwin Circle, Hassell Street and Glenn Meadow Court.

Glenn Meadow initially didn’t make the cut, but when the winning bid for the resurfacing came in around $378,000, the town was able to add one more project to the list.

Like the last teams left out in March, the bubbles burst for other streets, though a change in the way the town budgets could be cause for hope. Typically the Powell Bill funds come every other year, but starting next year the town will begin outlaying the money, albeit half as much, annually.

That means projects that just missed out – such as Buckingham Road, Axum Road, and Kelly Road – could be on a list to see repaving next year, starting in summer of 2015.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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