While many Abilene drivers are used to the bumps and cracks on the roads, Public Works Director Lon Schrader hopes to start the work to fix some roads in the upcoming weeks.
The list of roads up for construction this year, according to City Manager Ron Marsh, include:
Sections of the streets will undergo 2’ HMA mill and inlay with concrete valley gutter, driveway entrances, radius curb & gutter and sidewalk/ADA ramp:
West 1st Street
A section of North Washington will have minimal milling and a 2’ HMA overlay
Sections of the streets have older concrete which will be resurfaced
Over the summer, the city bid out the projects and are currently waiting for a contract with APAC. With no worry about Covid slowing down construction, the city hopes to get started this month on the list of streets.
“Hopefully, we’ll get ramped up and going good before September is over, but for sure in October,” Schrader said.
“You can get too cold for construction, so October is a good month to do it,” Schrader added. “If we can get them going in then November is not too bad usually.”
Once construction gets closer, Schrader plans to post the information on social media and if it is a long project near homes he puts up door hangers.
“So we’ll pass that information along there as soon as we know something,” Schrader said. “When we’re doing a lot of streets, especially the preservation type of work, they move relatively fast, they don’t spend a lot of time in one place. So it’s a bit of a challenge sometimes to communicate day-to-day with the contractor and then have time to communicate that with everybody.”
“Sometimes we simply don’t have very much warning,” Schrader added. “It’s not uncommon for the contractors to be finishing a project for another entity, somewhere nearby and call me at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and say, we’re going to be there in the morning.”
Schrader defined three types of road construction the city typically completes: 1, major construction, example: building a new road near an elementary school, 2. rehabilitation, typically building and overlaying, 3. preservation helps good streets last longer.
Currently, Schrader created a five year outline for the city to show what projects need to be done in what timeline. For example, Schrader listed a big project of 14th Street on that five year plan. The city has been applying for a KDOT grant to help pay for the costs and plans to apply again soon.
“Right now we are applying again, for some federal highway dollars and we’ve actually applied twice and have not made it,” Schrader said. “But, we’re going for a third time. The awarding of that if we do receive that one of those projects will certainly be a big boost.”
“The community’s helping,” Schrader added “We’ve gotten a lot of letters of support from some of the businesses and schools that are affected by this road.”
Another large project on Schrader’s five year plan, South Buckeye will be updated with the help of KDOT who will be funding 90% of the overlay project.
When discussing the reason behind the wear & tear on roads, Schrader pointed to a mixture of usage and weather in the area.
“An environment where you get a lot of moisture, moisture penetrates into the streets at certain places,” Schrader said. “Most people in street construction & maintenance are constantly trying and adapting and coming up with new ways to seal streets from getting moisture down in them.”
“You start seeing a great lot of truck traffic, maybe someplace where you didn’t before, you’re gonna see some wear and tear on the streets,” Schrader added.
Schrader wanted to remind people that the future construction will take time and to be patient through the road changes.
“If people think they’ve seen here in Abilene the bulk of the street cones and stuff out that would be incorrect,” Schrader said. “Once they get in and move in for about three to four weeks, probably there’ll be a lot of stuff going on and some inconveniences.”