GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - City crews aren't only battling Mother Nature as they work to repair havoc wreaked on our streets.
The freeze-thaw cycle quickly turns a once smooth road into a bumpy mess. "We had some pretty tough days this winter where it snowed and turned to liquid and then froze back," says Darren Starr, City Streets Manager.
An early snow-pack followed by a daily thaw and overnight refreeze has caused small cracks to turn into gaping holes. The freezing water expands and puts a lot of stress on the already worn streets and a late arriving spring hasn't helped matters. "Last year we were out in February crack filling and this year we didn't get out till mid March because of the weather," says Starr.
City crews are finally out, working to smooth out the damage and prepare for this year's chipseal program. "We're out filling cracks and then next week we're starting our patching crews," says Starr.
Chipseal is scheduled to start July 1 and last for two months. It's a 10 year program that already has funding. Aside from that, no other city–funded repaving projects are in the works.
"We don't have an overlay program this year, it's normally funded at $2 million a year and we don't have that funded at all this year," says City Engineering Manager Trent Prall.
That means officials have to pick and choose which projects will get done and which ones will have to wait. "It's just a matter of taking all your needs and the money that's available and prioritizing those," says Prall.
The city is planning to repair two alleyways this summer. One between 3rd and 4th Streets south of Colorado and the one running behind the KFC and Arby's just south of North Avenue. "These two alleys in particular were high maintenance for our street department and would actually cut costs in the long term," Prall says.
The alleyway projects are a cost–share program where local businesses pick up part of the tab for the repairs. As for the future of city funded projects, "We really need a significant turnaround to be able to fund those," says Prall. Because those funds come from sales tax dollars.