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Coastal voices: Answers to roadwork questions

The sound of construction equipment at work is music to the ears of any city manager, and I have been pleased to hear such sounds frequently in Crescent City over the past few months.

The wastewater treatment plant upgrade project is winding down, but the project site is still a beehive of activity. Street improvements on Fifth Street between A and Wendell were recently completed, and construction crews are still at work installing new sidewalk access ramps on H Street from Front Street all the way to 11th Street.

The city also recently completed its first ever “micro-surfacing” project, involving dozens of streets throughout the city.

Let me thank all of our residents, visitors and business owners for their patience while the work on the streets was in progress. We appreciate your flexibility as we waited for the right weather conditions to begin the project and coordinated many details with the private contractor who performed the work.

While we have received many positive comments and words of thanks regarding the micro-surfacing project, some have asked “What happened to Front Street?” The answer is that we didn’t want to spend the money on micro-surfacing Front Street because its condition is so bad (it needs to be totally reconstructed) and because we believe that the city will be able to move forward on the long-awaited Front Street reconstruction project in the next 24 months.

The City Council has approved a conceptual design for the project after much public input, and our staff is now working on the next steps, which include securing funding for the completion of the final design and specifications, and identifying the funding for the actual construction work, which is estimated to be in the range of $3 million.

It would have been like “throwing good money after bad” to spend a big chunk of our limited micro-surfacing budget on a road in Front Street’s condition. However, we did have the contractor (Valley Slurry) place a “rejuvenation seal” on Front Street. While a rejuvenation seal may sound like a fancy cosmetic surgery procedure performed by a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, in this context it is actually a seal that is placed over the road surface to prevent further deterioration from vehicle traffic and the elements.

It rejuvenates the surface of the road and slows down the oxidation and decay of the asphalt surface. It usually extends the life of a road by one to three years, and our decision to use this process on Front Street should buy the city enough time to get started on the real repairs to the street, which will be completed through the reconstruction project. 

The decision not to do a full micro-surfacing of Front Street allowed more work to be done on streets throughout the city that were better candidates for micro-surfacing, meaning that they are still in good enough condition to have their useful life extended by seven to 10 years through the placement of the additional sealant and chemicals on their asphalt surface.

This year’s micro-surfacing work is completed now, and the pavement-marking work (striping, stop legends, crosswalks, etc.) is still in progress but will be completed soon. For those of you who are asking, “What about my street?” you should remember the words of the Reverend Jesse Jackson and “keep hope alive.”

 The City Council and staff are committed to continued investment in our streets and roads, and we plan to budget funds for additional phases of micro-surfacing work and other street/road improvements in the years to come.

In closing, let me take a minute to thank Jim Barnts, Eric Wier, Kevin Tupman, Linda Jangala, and our entire Public Works Department staff for all of their hard work on this year’s micro-surfacing project.

Last year’s completion of the Fred Endert Municipal Pool renovation and Harbor Trail bridge, the upcoming completion of the wastewater treatment plant upgrade, and this year’s street, road and sidewalk work demonstrate that Crescent City is a city on the move, improving the appearance of our town and investing in critical infrastructure. There is still much work to do, and we look forward to it!

Rod Butler is the city manager of Crescent City.

 

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