Big expense: City taps streets for $1.9 million

HARLINGEN — It will cost $1.9 million to repair about 1.8 percent of the city’s 265 miles of streets.

Last night, city commissioners approved a list of 31 streets tapped for repairs in the upcoming fiscal year.

“We try to spread improvements throughout the city,” Assistant City Manager Carlos Sanchez said before the meeting.

The project is part of the city’s annual street repair program. This year, much of the money will come from a so-called street maintenance fee charged on customers’ monthly utility.

Two years ago, commissioners approved the surcharge that raised about $1.5 million this year. “Now that we are budgeting $2 million, that gets pretty close to a realistic schedule and that’s great,” City Commissioner Tudor Uhlhorn, who helped push for the street fee, said during last night’s meeting.

The city selected the streets from its 10-year plan.

This year, the city plans to repair about 4.8 miles of roadways, Sanchez said. Criteria used to select the streets included condition.

“We look at road conditions, how much money it would cost to improve the roadway, amount of traffic and area it serves,” Sanchez said.

Public Works Director Celia Gonzalez said she and staff looked for “cracking and potholes” as they inspected streets listed in the 10-year plan.

“We drove throughout the city and made assessments of the street on the existing list,” she said. “When pavement looks brittle, it looks like it’s falling apart. That indicates oxidation of the street — a lack of emulsion.”

While the city will overlay some streets, those in poorer condition will be reconstructed.

“The repairs typically consist of overlaying the street with 1.5 to 2.0 inches of asphalt on the existing street to repair surface failures, thus extending the life of the street,” Gonzalez wrote in the project’s executive summary.

“Those streets which have developed more severe failures are addressed with reconstruction of the base material and then overlaid,” she wrote.

Bright orange traffic cones ringed with reflective tape mark off the boundaries of a traffic island at the intersection of Commerce and Taft street Monday. The island, long filled with asphalt and loose gravel, is getting a facelift courtesy of a company call SYNLawn. The company will replace the asphalt with artificial grass and pavers as the city of Harlingen begins a multimillion dollar effort to beautify various spots across the city. (Dina Arevalo/Valley Morning Star) Photographed Monday, January 21, 2013.

Commuters navigate the construction site Wednesday afternoon on Dixieland Road in Harlingen where workers are repairing cracked asphalt. (Jesse Mendoza/Valley Morning Star)

The List

Charles Street from Morgan Boulevard to Warren Street

Frances Street from Warren Street to Charles Street

Park Street from Morgan Boulevard to end

Warren Street from Rio Hondo Road to Park Street

G Street from Markowsky Street to Business 77

4th Street from Madison Avenue to alley

5th Street from Madison Avenue to alley

Haine Drive from Treasure Hills Boulevard to Whalen Road

Haine Drive from Ed Carey Boulevard to Treasure Hills Boulevard

Nixon Road from FM 509 to Ed Carey Boulevard