• 64°
franklin county times

City playing catch up on street repaving

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
June 22, 2001
After eight years without a consistent paving program, Meridian Public Works Director Benny Wolfe said Thursday his department is playing catch up with neglected streets.
Wolfe, who heard a barrage of complaints about street conditions earlier this month during the mayoral race, says his department is making headway on improving the streets, but admits there is still a lot of roadway ahead.
So far this fiscal year the city has spent $855,000 on street paving, coupled with an additional $800,000 from Lauderdale County through an interlocal agreement.
Although the amounts represent a large increase from the lack of attention streets got from the late 1980s through the mid 1990s, Wolfe said more funding is necessary.
In the past his department has recommended an annual stipend from which to draw money for repaving projects.
Wolfe says a lack of funding being spent on infrastructure has been a troubling trend nationally, especially to officials who hold positions similar to his in other cities.
Street repaving isn't getting any cheaper.
As more time passes without any action to bring streets up to basic standards, Wolfe said the potential cost is also escalating because of the rising price of materials.
Asphalt that several years ago could be bought for $25 per ton has skyrocketed to $42 per ton, according to Wolfe. As with consumer gasoline prices, the oil-based components that help create asphalt has been the culprit behind the price increase.
Currently, which streets get paved depends entirely on city council members, who submit a "wish list" of what streets they want paved in their own wards. Wolfe's department then informs the council of how much asphalt tonnage is available for the entire city. The council divides that figure into five equal parts for each ward and edits their lists accordingly.
But Wolfe doesn't believe, as many residents do, that Meridian has the worst street conditions of other comparable cities in the state.
In order to properly maintain the streets the way Wolfe said he would like, city leaders would need to loosen the purse strings.
The Public Works Department plan would recommend resurfacing main thoroughfares every 10 years, collector streets every 15 years and residential streets every 20 years.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.
Did you know?
On average, repaving a mile of a two lane residential street costs about $60,000. For four lane thoroughfares, such as 14th Street and Eighth Street, one mile of repaving costs about $120,000.
The City of Meridian maintains between 400-450 miles of roads.
So far in fiscal year 2001 the city has used about 17,500 tons of asphalt for resurfacing.

News

Phil Campbell swears in new councilman

Franklin County

Fall brings Pumpkin Palooza, NW-SCC trunk-or-treat event

Franklin County

Hodges festival promises food, fun, fireworks

Franklin County

Distinguished Through the Decades: 2008, Paige Palmer Thorne

Franklin County

Commission passes budget, shows support for two state amendments

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Homecoming Court

Franklin County

PHOTOS: Tharptown Homecoming Court

Franklin County

NW-SCC public relations wins seven statewide awards

Franklin County

Phil Campbell City Council fills vacant seat

Features

Taste of Franklin: Flavors of fall

News

Red Bay celebrates Founders Day with plenty of entertainment for all

Franklin County

FCS bus driver faces arrest, termination

Franklin County

County seeks responses to broadband survey

Franklin County

NW-SCC reports highest fall enrollment since 2010 

Features

View from Crescent Moon Acres: How one New Jersey woman found her dream life in Phil Campbell

Franklin County

Franklin County 4-H rabbit project participants bring home awards

News

ADEM approves $348M for water, sewer projects

Franklin County

Extension warns: Harvest time means taking extra safety precautions

News

City approves line-of-credit bid from VSB for equipment purchases

News

Russellville Electric Board elects officers

News

RHS Marching Hundred hosts Northwest Alabama Classic

News

RCS BOE approves budget for FY-2023

Franklin County

FCS BOE passes budget

News

Red Bay plans annual Founders Day festival Sept. 24

x