By Tammy Gray
Approximately 5.3 lane miles were paved and 1,000 feet of sidewalks, curbs and gutters were replaced during the last fiscal year in Holbrook, according to City Manager Ray Alley.
Alley explained that a lane mile is equal to a mile that is 12 feet wide. The streets were paved using concrete, and he noted that the city used 6,000 yards of concrete over the course of the fiscal year, representing 600 loads of cement.
“Our street department is just four people and one temp,” he said, noting that he and members of other departments pitch in when necessary to help pour and finish the concrete.
According to Alley, the concrete streets are durable and require virtually no maintenance.
“The first road we poured was five years ago and it still looks almost new,” he said. “In 50 or 60 years, whoever is here is going to hate us, but right now there’s virtually no maintenance.”
He also pointed out that the cost of concrete is comparable to asphalt, with concrete costing $105 to $110 per yard and asphalt coming in at around $80 to $90 per ton.
“It’s close on the cost, but the concrete we can do ourselves,” he remarked. “Concrete roads are about half as expensive in the long run.”
Alley also pointed out that although it is more difficult to reach broken water or sewer lines underneath concrete roads, breaks are less frequent due to the protection the roads provide.
“They prevent water lines from flexing and breaking,” he said.
According to Alley, when heavy vehicles travel over city streets paved with asphalt, they cause the asphalt to move or bend slightly under the pressure, which, in turn, causes the water lines underneath to flex. Over time the water lines are damaged and may eventually break. He noted that the same movement and flexion does not occur under concrete roads and therefore there are fewer breaks.
Over the course of the last year, the street department paved 11 different streets, or sections of streets, according to Streets Supervisor Pat Serna. Those streets include Fourth, Fifth and Sixth streets between Hampshire and Florida, Hennesey, Haywood, Mendell, Shreeve, Erie from First to Eighth avenues, Glen, and Ninth and Fourth avenues from Florida to Erie.
In addition to paving, the street department also used 16 tons of crack sealer and 112 tons of cold mix to preserve and repair existing asphalt streets. The street crew was also called on to assist with other city projects, including demolishing a house and building a park by the senior center, and constructing two dugouts.
Serna noted that the streets department is working on several projects, including the splash pad, the cemetery wall, clearing drainage ditches and alleys, and patching and sealing asphalt roads. When the weather warms up again in the spring, crews will start working on replacing curbs on Buffalo Street near Hulet School and Holbrook High School, and paving Seventh Avenue between Florida and Erie, Hopi Drive from Third to Second Street, and Helen and Hill roads.