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City roads evaluated

For grant purposes, the City of Madison needed to have their roads evaluated and prioritized.

On the Tuesday, May 10 meeting of the City Commissioners, City Manager Tim Bennett and Brent Whitman of Madison Engineering presented the commissioners with a information packet that explained the condition and rating of the city’s roads.

“We also needed [the evaluation] to see which roads needed [repair] the most,” said Bennett.

The findings of the evaluation, however, showed that many of the city’s roads were in horrible condition, with potholes, spider cracks and paint loss, with many being roughly patched.

The road ratings, which ranged from #10 (the best) to #1 (the worst), had many of the city’s roads falling on a #4, #5 or #6.  There were no #10 roads in the city of Madison, but there were also no #1 roads either.

“We [have] some challenges out there,” said Bennett before handing the podium over to Whitman.

133 city-owned roads had been visited and evaluated by Whitman during the production of putting the packet together.

“Do you have a plan to fix your [roads]?” asked Whitman. “This is a growing document; a continuing document.”

City roads that have frequent use, such as SW Range St. (a #2), College Loop (a #3), Harvey Greene Dr. (a #4), Pinckney Ave. (a #4), Martin Luther King Dr. (a #4) and Meeting Ave. (a #4) are in dire condition.

The city has 23.4 miles of road and out of those miles, there are maybe a mile and a half to two miles that is not paved, which are gravel roads and dirt roads. “You have some that [might] have been paved [at one time], but they are gravel now,” said Whitman.

Within the packet, each road, street and avenue was listed along with its rating, the visible distress, general recommended treatment and which commissioner’s district the road ran in.

“The vast majority of [the city roads’] asphalt isn’t worn out [yet],” said Whitman. “But it is getting mighty close.”

Whitman spoke about the various roads that run between different commissioner’s districts, as many were not restricted to running through only one city district.

“There is going to be a [need] for a lot of joint discussion between [the commissioners],” advised Whitman.

Whitman warned that, while the evaluation was a great starting point to know what needs to be done and where to improve the city’s roads, with the exception of three to four roads within city limits, none of the roads had a 10-year life span left ahead of them with the amount of wear and tear on their pavement, foundation and shoulders.

Taking on the slow task of repairing the city roads, Whitman warned, would be costly to the city, but it was still cheaper than the alternative of having to repair roads that had reached an emergency need to be immediately repaired, as they definitely would in the future if steps were not taken to implement repairs now.

“The thing is, if you did this when your roads started hitting #8, #7 or #6, just starting to get noticeably in need of repair, you could reevaluate them every year to see where you may end up having problems,” said Whitman. “But now, you are [about] to go from two coats of seal coat, to a complete reconstruction [of the roads].”

Mayor Catron thanked Whitman for his informative and much needed presentation on the city’s roads.

Since Whitman has worked with other towns and cities to evaluate their roads, Catron asked if the high amount of damaged roads were a unique scenario that Madison was facing.

“Not at all,” said Whitman. “Every [small] community has this problem. All small towns are the same.”

As Whitman’s presentation drew to an end, the commissioners kept their package presentations that had been given to them by Whitman to keep and go over as they decided how to handle the task of repairing Madison’s poorly conditioned roads.

The matter of the City of Madison’s roads will likely resurface in a future meeting.

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