MUSCATINE, Iowa – Miles and miles of poured concrete. Blocks and blocks of freshly laid asphalt. New sidewalks, curbs, better drainage, and smoother driving. These are just a few of the results that the residents of Muscatine can see as the result of the Pavement Management Program. The success of the program comes, in part, from the portion of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) it has received in the last nine years.
In August of 2008 voters approved the extension of LOST for a 10-year period designated up to 20 percent of the revenue to be used for the City of Muscatine’s Pavement Management Program. The remainder of the funds generated by LOST is dedicated to the sewer and sanitary sewer projects.
The 10-year period ends on June 30, 2019 and a referendum to extend LOST for a 15-year period will come before the voters on March 6, 2018. It is anticipate that LOST will provide the major portion of funds for the final three phases of the West Hill Sewer Separation Project, and providing up to 20 percent of the LOST revenue to provide funds for the Pavement Management Program.
Two projects completed in 2017 brought attention to the Pavement Management Program as Cleveland Street was reconstructed from Park Avenue to 2nd Avenue and the Asphalt Overlay Project refreshed portions of 12 streets in Muscatine.
Muscatine has over 140 miles of streets that are maintained by the Roadway Maintenance Division of the Department of Public Works (DPW). In 2004, the DPW began using a Pavement Condition Index, a numerical expression of pavement condition expressed from 0 to 100, to develop a prioritized list of streets that were in need of repair both concrete and asphalt.
The Pavement Condition Index was created by physically surveying each street in Muscatine and noting each defect found. The second part to the rating was establishing what the traffic volume was, whether the street was concrete or asphalt, and what it was going to cost to fix the problem.
From these surveys and discussions came the list of streets ranked according to their need of repair. Current DPW Director Brian Stineman and Roadway Maintenance Supervisor Randy Howell update these lists annually as they prepare for each construction season.
Cleveland Street is the latest example of reconstruction of a concrete street as part of the Pavement Management Program. Portions of 15 other streets have been replaced since 2009 and the 2018 season could see several more sections replaced.
Another aspect of determining what streets will be repaired is the possibility of their connection to another project.
The West Hill Sewer Separation Project is one of those that has seen curb-to-curb replacement of the streets as the sanitary sewer system is updated to meet EPA guidelines and their mandated deadline of 2028.
Deteriorating streets within the boundaries of such projects can potentially be repaired without additional cost to the City by attaching them to other close by projects. This also frees up funds for other street projects.
The Asphalt Overlay Project is another Pavement Management program that has restored many streets in Muscatine to a more drivable condition. One of the longest stretches in the 2017 Asphalt Overlay program was Lincoln Boulevard which had new asphalt laid from Washington to Clay streets.
Through the end of the Fiscal 2016-2017 year a total of $4.2 million has been contributed into the Pavement Management Program from LOST. Cedar Street, Colorado Street, and the Diana Queen Drive Extension were also partially funded through LOST.
The main emphasis, however, is on repairing the aging street system in Muscatine. Without the addition of funds from LOST, the repairs would still be accomplished but at a much slower pace and in much smaller portions.
The success of the Pavement Management Program can be attested to by those who remember what the repaired streets were like and how they are today. The continuation of LOST will allow the Department of Public Works to continue their efforts to make Muscatine streets safer for all residents and visitors.