The cost of hot mix asphalt, which is closely tied to petroleum prices, has increased by 28 percent in the past six years, making traditional street maintenance of milling and paving a stringent task for municipal officials.
“It’s becoming more and more expensive every time, and it’s just not really sustainable for us to only do that treatment,” City of Hagerstown Engineer Rodney Tissue said Tuesday, “And what we’re looking at it is doing other techniques along with milling and paving.”
As a way to combat increased costs, the city instituted its Pavement Preservation Program in 2006, with the goal of maintaining streets and parking lots at the highest level possible but at the lowest cost, according to Tissue.
Since 2009, the program has included other methods of maintenance beyond simple mill-and-pave work, including annual crack filling, slurry sealing and patching to prolong street life while keeping costs to a minimum, Tissue said.
Tissue spoke to the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday, recommending the approval of a contract not to exceed $610,000 with Craig Paving Inc. of Hagerstown to complete this year’s round of projects, marking the third largest streets expenditure in city history.
City Council is expected to approve the contract on July 24.
Problem areas on nine streets have been identified for full paving, including the Wilson Boulevard overpass and portions of South Walnut Street, Marshall Street, St. Clair Street, Hamilton Boulevard, Mercer Drive, Garst Court and a small part of a city alley.
Portions of Summit Avenue and Manila Avenue also were picked for overlays, but city staff plan to postpone work in those areas to stay within the budget for this fiscal year, Tissue said.
In total, the paving projects would recover 57,046 square yards of roadways, the largest being 22,171 square yards for the Wilson Boulevard overpass.
Fifteen other streets were selected for spot patching and 20 more for crack-filling procedures, which will be completed as the budget allows, Tissue said.
Budgeted work will be paid for through General Fund transfers, Highway User Revenues from the state and a portion from the city’s fund balance, Tissue said.
The city maintains 111 centerline miles of streets, many that have not been paved for 15 years or more, making preservation work a priority each year, Tissue said.
“Everybody likes a nice freshly paved street,” Tissue said. “That’s what all of us want, but I think we’re looking at that probably happening only once every 30 years. And we’ve got to use these other techniques ... to try to extend the life for as long as possible.”
Milling and paving projects, which take one to two weeks, are expected to begin in August, Tissue said.