The City of Charlotte took an important step Monday, June 22 in its plans to improve city streets. City councilmembers discussed a proposed five-year plan that includes a mix of reconstruction and rehabilitation that would impact streets in four different quadrants within the city.
“The council was supportive of Strategy 1, which includes a combination of mill and fill projects and some total reconstruction,” said City Manager Gregg Guetschow. “The next step is for us to put together proposed streets.”
As part of the five-year plan, councilmembers were provided with a list of streets described as reconstruction candidates and a much longer list of rehabilitation candidates.
“I’m very excited we’re moving towards a comprehensive plan to get the roads taken care of,” said Mayor Carrie Burch. “Next year we’ll start to see projects underway.”
Year one of the five-year plan, which Guetschow described as the first five years of a 12-year plan, would include a major street reconstruction project, utilizing approximately $310,000 of an available $670,000 for street improvements. It also includes $350,000 spent on rehabilitation (mill and fill) projects. Projects would get underway in the 2016 construction season.
Guetschow estimates the city will have approximately $425,000 annually for projects — approximately $300,000 will come from the county road millage; $40,000 from interest from the Owens-Illinois settlement; $75,000 freed up from the retirement of road bonds and $10,000 it currently budgets for road maintenance. Of that $360,000 will be available for actual construction after factoring in costs for design and construction engineering.
The city will go into year one with $310,000 cash on hand from the county’s first road millage distribution, which was disbursed this past spring.
Guetschow said the city will evaluate the plan each year to monitor street conditions. The city wants to preserve roads currently rated as in fair condition (4-7 and 8-10 range) according to the standard Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating System (PASER), which rates roads on a scale of 1-10 with one being the worst.
“There will be work that will be completed on streets in several neighborhoods,” Guetschow said. “Council was very clear that it wanted to spread money out so every neighborhood was getting something done.”
Guetschow cautioned that the current funding the city has available is not enough to accomplish all it would like in terms of improving city streets. Of the city’s roughly 35 miles of paved streets, 18.18 miles are currently rated 1-to-3 on the PASER system. Reconstruction for all 18 miles would cost the city roughly $40 million.
“We’ll continue to look at different ways of funding street improvements,” Guetschow said. “This is something you have to do year in and year out, forever.”