City street repair crews are trying to keep up with “the worst year for potholes that I’ve seen,” their boss said Wednesday.
“We did Broadway (Street) three days ago, and we’ve already got to do it again,” said Bob Shaw, Pekin’s Streets and Solid Waste Department director.
While Shaw’s crews have spent the past two months shoveling a “cold-pack” mixture of asphalt and adhesives into pits created by the winter’s cycle of freeze, thaw and moisture, planners at City Hall have produced their strategy for the coming season of major street repair projects.
Like other mid-sized communities statewide, they’ll have less state-supplied funding for the work than in years past.
Funding from state motor fuel tax revenue designated for street projects in fiscal year 2019, which begins May 1, will total $850,000, down from $1.1 million the city received for this year’s projects, said City Engineer Mike Guerra.
With the City Council’s approval, $540,000 will be spent to mill and overlay Sheridan Road from Illinois Route 29 to 14th Street.
At $185,000, chip seal of streets in the Brentwood Manor subdivision ranks as the second most expensive project of the season, which begins in May.
The remaining funds will finance crack filling along St. Mary, Capitol, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth streets, Parkway Lane and Audobon Drive.
To select those projects, the city hired Midwest Engineering of East Peoria to evaluate pavement conditions and provide maintenance recommendations. It also added another layer to the annual street project planning.
Both council members and the public were given the opportunity to suggest their preferences for the projects recommended by Midwest. City staff in November hosted a presentation in which business owners and others submitted their choices, with the total cost of their menu of projects limited to $850,000.
Shaw and his department’s crews haven’t had that luxury as they’ve dealt with the winter’s daily profusion of potholes.
“We’ve gone through a lot of cold (pack) mix,” Shaw said. “Since I’ve been here it’s the most we’ve ever used” of the material, which is purchased with funds from the city’s general operating budget.
Until warmer weather arrives, crews generally concentrate on the city’s main traffic arteries, including Broadway, Parkway and Court, Derby and 14th streets, he said.
On Wednesday, a crew moved steadily down Stadium Drive, in front of Pekin Community High School, before turning their shovels onto Parkway.