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Published Tue, Jan 29, 2013 08:00 PM
Modified Sat, Feb 02, 2013 06:15 PM

Paving the way for better roads

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- ajames@newsobserver.com

CLAYTON -- The town is looking to pave the way for better roads.

Data from an examination of all of the 74 miles of town-maintained roadway in Clayton shows which roads need to be resurfaced, or repaired, and when.

The town’s utilities director Tim Simpson presented the findings to the town council last week. According to Simpson, Clayton has about $31.1 million invested in its roads, an investment he believes is worth maintaining.

Simpson said close to one third, or 31.5 percent of the town’s street system needs maintenance or resurfacing. The recommendations from the survey show that the streets are in need of $1.5 million of repairs. No immediate measures will be put in place to address the needs. The survey is more of a guide for future plans of how to work on the roads, according to the town’s spokeswoman Stacy Beard.

Town Manager Steve Biggs said creating that plan is a first step in making changes.

“It was a council-adopted priority that we update our street conditions. I’m pleased that the findings show that we’re going in the right direction and we’ll be putting plans in place to move forward over the next few years,” Biggs said.

Over a 15-year life cycle, which accounts for continued wear and tear on the roads, the cost of repaving 4.9 miles of roads each year to keep them maintained would be $679,900.

The survey findings show the overall quality of roads in Clayton is “good.”

Councilman Michael Grannis encouraged the council to consider the long-term benefit of investing in Clayton’s roads.

“It is important to consider what that routine maintenance saves us in the long term,” Grannis said. “Maybe we can look at budgeting a higher percentage if it will help down the road.”

The company who performed the survey, USI, also recommended that Clayton continue to dedicate its maintenance funding toward routine maintenance, or preventative maintenance practices. The company said this practice will reduce the maintenance cost per mile in future years.

The survey divides the repairs that are needed into three categories, high, medium, and low priority. About $1.4 million of the repairs are considered to be “high priority.”

Those repairs include routine maintenance, resurfacing of alligator cracking, which includes several cracks that break the road up into small pieces like an alligator’s skin, and also rutting, which causes uneven road surfaces.

There are no “medium priorities” included. Low priority needs include resurfacing of moderate blocks, where long cracks break the road into big pieces, or reflective cracking and raveling, resurfacing of severe ride quality, which includes streets where there are potholes. The cost for low priorities is $120, 577.

The last time a comprehensive road survey was done in Clayton was in 2007.

James: 919-553-7234

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