City working to reduce bumpy rides in New Albany

Crossover Road, from Hwy. 30 West to behind Wal-Mart, is rated as one of the streets most in need of attention.
March 5th, 2020     Government & Politics

New Albany aldermen began a discussion Tuesday on a street paving program for the spring.

The problem will be assigning street priorities with a limited amount of money available.

Mayor Tim Kent said the city street fund has about one million dollars in it now.

It was largely wiped out the past year because of the cost of the Coulter Drive and Park Plaza projects.

But it was helped when aldermen added a four-mill tax specifically for street repairs this past year also.

To help bolster the fund slightly, Ward Two Alderman Johnny Anderson recommended moving $100,000 from the general fund to the street fund, and that was approved.

The basis aldermen are using to help allocate funds is a study done by Civil-Link LLC and presented May this past year.

The study looked at every street in the city and gave it a rating of from one to 10 with one being the worst and 10 the best. It also rated the type of use for each street, the type of maintenance it needed, its length and the estimated cost to repair.

Recommended repairs ranged from sealing cracks to total reconstruction.

Most of the streets are in fair condition or better but some do need work.

Aldermen are going to focus on asphalt streets most in need of overlaying. The city has 67 miles of asphalt streets, a little more than seven miles of concrete or concrete overlaid streets and about two-thirds of a mile of gravel street.

The only street rated “very poor” was Crossover Road, which goes from Hwy. 30 West to the back of the Wal-Mart area. The only street rated “poor” was McGraw, which is a short street with only one residence on it.

The streets aldermen are looking at most are those rated 4 or “fair.” There are 38 “fair” streets for a total of 11.55 miles.

The estimated cost to overlay all of them, based on 2019 prices, is $1,774,100 – nearly twice the funds available. And that does not include the 5-rated streets that are “fair” but will need help soon.

The city has 111 5-rated streets comprising 24.63 miles and the added repair cost for them would be $2,152,110.

Mayor Tim Kent said two streets that likely would take priority are sections of Sam Tom Barkley Drive and Moss Hill Drive. Both are considered major collectors, due to traffic connected to the elementary school and truck traffic on Barkley Drive. Moss Hill Drive also is narrow with little or no shoulder in some places.

The estimated cost for those two sections would be about $230,000.

In order to come up with an organized plan, Mayor Kent asked aldermen to look at the study and make recommendations in the next couple of weeks.

Both the street mileage and estimated costs are fairly evenly distributed among the four wards and, of course, many streets are in more than one ward.

Mayor Kent said that when he took office the aldermen had a goal of paving about eight miles of street per year, but that has not been feasible since then. He estimated the cost of asphalt is five or six times what it was then and scheduling an asphalt supplier is problematic as well; accessibility depends on their schedule and not the city’s.

Based on the asphalt estimate of $186,700 per mile, the city’s $1,100,000 fund would only allow for about five miles of overlaying this year.

There is a process called cape seal, which the mayor said appears to work well, that costs less at $106,400 per mile and aldermen seemed to indicate that might be used for the 5-rated “fair” streets that are in better condition than the 4s.

Only sealing cracks would cost an estimated $29,000 to $33,000 per mile.

Doing all the recommended work in the survey would cost about $6 million. But even that is misleading because it only includes cost of overlay, and not the preparation work that would be needed to get ready for the asphalt.

Aldermen should be able to make decisions on which streets to overlay at their next meeting.

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