Patching streets

Brenden Alvarez operates the skid steer and Peter Garcia-Herbert assists with the Abilene Public Works Department patching at the very south end of Buckeye Avenue.

A three-year street maintenance plan could cost close to $5 million.

“We’ve evaluated every street in Abilene,” said Public Works Director Lon Schrader at a study session of the Abilene City Commission last Monday.

When the city was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Works was able to review the streets and come up with a three-year plan which Schrader outlined.

“I didn’t put names on the streets that I was targeting on the next several years because those could change,” he said. “It has been my experience that once you bring it out to the public you are going to work on this street, the public will pretty much hold you to it until you get it done.”

Many times, because of changing conditions or because of amount of use, street repair plans also change.

“We see streets that over the course of time look pretty good but have a change in the traffic patterns or truck traffic,” he said, pointing to Walnut Street by Cowboy Stadium which received a lot of traffic because of the football field renovation.

“Those streets are residential and were not designed to take that kind of load,” he said.



He said the maintenance plan is based on the evaluation of those streets.

“I did include as part of 2021 and 2022, the existing projects that we have already identified and started working on,” he said.

The reconstruction of N.W. 14th Street from Buckeye Avenue to Vine Street had already been discussed. Cost of that is estimated at $2.3 million.

“That is a large project and we have already done about 60 percent of the engineering for it,” he said.

The plan lists three type of projects: reconstruction, rehabilitation and preservation.

Reconstruction is new construction or full depth repair and includes storm drains and utility relocation. Rehabilitation typically includes mill and inlay with some curb and gutter improvements.

Preservation is done on a street that is in good condition and sound.

“So you need to have streets in good enough condition to have preservation work like chip sealing or mastic sealing,” Schrader said. “We have a lot of streets that don’t warrant that. They are not in good enough condition. They need a little more than that. They need a mill and inlay or a full reconstruction.”

He estimated that over $7 million has been spent on street projects in the last 10 years.

The largest was First Street.

“Most were neighborhood projects,” he said.

Schrader said funding has come from either the street improvement fund or bonding and not from the city’s general fund.

The .25 percent sales tax generates about $300,000 a year, the gas tax is estimated to bring in $236,000 and the federal fund exchange is expected to generate $236,000, giving the city just under $600,000 to spend on streets each year.

“We’ve been active but there is a lot to do,” he said.  “We could take this out much further but I think right now. two to three years out is probably plenty far enough to look at a street maintenance plan.”

He said sometimes the replacement of water lines come into play when repairing streets.

Once the water main is replaced, a mill and overlay would come next.

“You hate to resurface a road knowing that underneath it you have some problems,” he said.

Schrader said this summer, city crews have been patching streets. He said the patching repair takes about 8 to 9 tons of hot mix asphalt. Each summer about 350 tons of hot mix asphalt is applied to Abilene’s streets.



City Manager Jane Foltz said the discussion of celebrating Halloween needs to addressed.

Foltz said the city in the past has closed Third Street from Mulberry Street to Pine Street on Oct. 31.

Contact Tim Horan at


Contact Tim Horan at

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