By David Tuma
Street repairs in the City of Belton are ongoing as with any community. Belton is currently undergoing a major transformation of road improvements. In the long run, this will save the tax payers dollars by extending the life of city streets.
A five-year Street Maintenance Plan was developed back in 2014. City streets were rated in terms of need. The cost of the road repairs over this time period is estimated to be $6 million. Lee Engineering developed the plan and bids were extended. The City of Belton combined years one and two. This year’s cost for road repairs is $1.7 million.
These funds will be used to provide chip seals and asphalt overlays.
“It is a five year plan. We went with chip seals and asphalt overlays so local contractors could bid on the repairs,” said Angellia Points, Director of Internal Services City Engineer.
The overall plan includes maps with each street in the city coded by color. Red is the most urgent need for repair. City streets are being repaired in all parts of the community. Most notable are the asphalt overlays on Sparta Road and down by the Court House on Central Avenue.
Because of the traffic on Sparta Road during the day, work was done at night. Work began at 6 p.m. Crews were usually finished by 7 a.m. The roadway was removed 10 inches down. The overlay of asphalt required 4,000 tons of material. This was a major repair done in four straight all nighters.
Funding this year is provided by bonds $1,421,500, TIRZ Street Maintenance Funds $301,051, Belton Economic Development Corporation $33,622 and $26,072 from the General Fund Operation Budget.
Work on it should be completed in late October. Cooler weather tends to make road repairs less than effective. That is why most of the work was completed in the summer months.
Chip seal is used when an oil type application is applied to the road and rocks of asphalt lay on top. Within days, the road way is smooth. An overlay is more expensive with the asphalt rolled on. Sparta Road was an overlay. Heavy traffic areas usually require an overlay.
City crews went door to door notifying businesses and residents of upcoming road repairs.
“The response has been phenomenal. Going door to door in person is more effective. It gives residents a chance to ask questions. We worked with them as much as we can,” said Points.
Chip seal is quicker but overlay lasts longer. To give an idea of the scope and size of the repairs, there are 100 streets on the list for repair. There are 257 segments of the streets that will be repaired. Over 300,000 square yards of chip seal will be used and 43,000 square yards of overlay.
When completed, 15 miles of roads will be repaired. That also means 15 miles of notices. Each year, funding will be required. This is not a minor project by any means. The goal is to eventually treat and repair every street in the City of Belton.
Water breaks down roads just like the mountains. The reason the roads need to treated is to preserve the life of the roadway by sealing the base from water.