Shine up the orange cones and get out the detour map. Lawrence City Hall leaders are seeking approval for a host of new road projects for 2012.
City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting will be asked to approve a formal street maintenance plan for the coming year, and they’ll also be told new numbers are suggesting the city’s renewed emphasis on streets is paying off.
The city is reporting that the number of potholes on city streets declined significantly from a year ago. Through early November, the city has patched 10,901 potholes. That’s down from 30,472 potholes the city patched in all of 2010.
Mark Thiel, the city’s assistant director of public works, said the city’s patches are lasting longer now that crews can use a new spray injection patcher that allows potholes to be filled during any weather conditions.
“That piece of equipment has helped us tremendously,” Thiel said. “Typically when we patch with the spray injector, the patch is lasting more than a year.”
Before the city began using the new piece of equipment, Thiel said city crews would have to replace some patches within one to two weeks, especially during the winter months when a “cold patch” form of asphalt had to be used.
Thiel also said weather conditions have played a role in the drop. Fewer freeze-thaw cycles have occurred, which has cut back on the number of potholes.
The city also is reporting that a preliminary analysis shows the number of streets rated in “fair to poor” condition are declining. Crews with the city’s Public Works Department rate the condition of every street in the city. The city recently has finished rating two-thirds of the city’s streets and has found 22.75 percent of the streets are in poor to fair condition, which generally means the street will have to be rebuilt rather than repaired. In 2005, when the city first rated the streets, 31.5 percent were rated poor to fair. In 2009, the number was 29.8 percent.
The city also has completely rebuilt several stretches of street, including two projects along Kasold Drive and a stretch of 19th Street near Lawrence High School.
“As you get streets reconstructed, you should have fewer potholes,” City Commissioner Bob Schumm said. “Those new streets better not have any potholes anyway. But I do think the infrastructure is looking better than it did a year ago and probably much better than it did two years ago.”
City engineers have a mix of major rebuilding projects and preventive maintenance jobs lined up for next year. City commissioners at their Tuesday meeting will consider approving the street maintenance plan for 2012. It includes work in several areas of the city:
- Repaving of selected streets north of Sixth Street between Tennessee and Iowa streets.
- Repaving of selected streets north of East 15th Street between Harper and Kentucky.
- Crack sealing of streets south of Clinton Parkway between Iowa Street and Wakarusa Drive.
- A rebuilding of Wakarusa Drive near the Bob Billings Parkway intersection.
- A repaving and improvements to Sixth Street between Iowa and Monterey Way.
- A state project to reconstruct the 23rd Street bridge between Barker and Haskell.
- Repaving of neighborhood streets in the Breezedale neighborhood south of 23rd and Massachusetts. While repaving, crews also may install traffic-calming devices previously approved by the City Commission.
- Microsurfacing of neighborhood streets west of Kasold Drive, east of Wakarusa Drive, north of Bob Billings Parkway and south of West Sixth Street.
Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.