North Bend street projects named

NORTH BEND - Six ailing area roads are slated for a facelift under the 2004 pavement overlay program.

City Council members approved the $100,000 in upgrades at their March 2 meeting. The projects are expected to go out to bid on April 15, with construction expected by summer.

The roads selected for upgrades are:

* Third Street from Ballarat Avenue to Downing Avenue

* Downing Avenue from Second Street to Third Street

* Healy Avenue from Park Street to Orchard Drive

* West Third Street from Sydney Avenue to Bendigo Boulevard

* Southeast Maple Drive to Meadow Drive to Riverside Drive

* East Fifth Street from Main Avenue to Ballarat Avenue

Although on the outside the plan's approval appeared innocuous, it was much more, according to at least two council members.

"This is a milestone," said Councilman Mark Sollitto.

For years the city has been working to establish a plan to revamp its struggling pavement, Sollitto said, with this year being the first time a comprehensive analysis plan of the road surfaces, implemented last year, was utilized.

According to the ranking system, about 67 percent of the city's streets are "good," meaning with routine future maintenance they will remain in solid shape, said pubic works director Ron Garrow.

About 13 percent of the roadways are "fair," meaning they need on overlay -an about 1 and 1/2-inch thick layer of asphalt - to seal cracks and smaller divots to push them back to "good," which costs about $25 a square foot.

About 20 of the city's streets are in need of reconstruction - basically ripping up the road and starting over - which runs about $75 a square foot.

It's important to begin paying to repave portions, Sollitto said, because allowing the projects to lapse could be extremely costly in the long term.

If the city were to reconstruct the roadways within its city limits, the cost would be about $24.6 million, Sollitto said.

Approval of the this year's plan was a welcome step, said Councilman Bill Wittress.

"If you would've told me three years ago that we'd have a plan and money, I would've said, 'You're crazy,'" said Wittress.

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