The Fennimore Common Council’s Street, Sanitation and Recycling Committee learned the City’s latest street maintenance plan during its meeting Tuesday evening, Nov. 3.
“The last one I did was probably about right after I started, I went through an update,” Director of Public Works Dennis Biddick told the Committee. “But every year it is sort of an ongoing project.”
The state requires City officials to rate the surface of its streets every two years according to a statewide uniform ratings system, Biddick explained.
“We have to certify those every two years and that is coming up in December,” he said. “Last week Barry [Belstra] and I went out and we drove every street again and re-rated streets. The biggest conclusion we found was there has been a lot of deterioration in the last two years.
“The scale goes 10 is a brand new street, one is something that you don’t want to ever see. We actually have one street we classified as a two this year.”
That street is Madison Street, west of Bender’s Foods. Twenty-one blocks are rated a three or less, but “at least that many” are rated a four.
“A ‘six’ street is one that just has cracks that we have gone back and crack-filled,” Biddick said. “It doesn’t have what we call ‘alligatoring’ effect. That is where concrete starts breaking up in little pieces and you can actually physically see it. It looks like an alligator back. That is the start of a ‘five.’ A ‘four’ is a little worse than that. A ‘three,’ the actual structural integrity of the subgrade underneath the asphalt is deteriorating.”
Since joining the City, Biddick has instituted a similar rating system for water infrastructure.
“I take our street rating, I add the water rating and add them together and divide by two to come up with an average and that is what we use for selection,” he explained. “So if we have two streets and they are both a three surface and one doesn’t need water main upgrades and the other one does – it is a three – obviously the three water main is going to be a higher priority.
“That is what I started implementing two years ago instead of only looking at the surfaces. So our priorities on our streets have changed since when John Murphy was here. A lot of the streets he had targeted to be done this year, last year and next year aren’t even on our radar because they are still a surface rating of four or five. We have many streets that are much worse than that.”
Biddick told the Committee the maintenance plan is a living document and he was true to his word. By the time the document was considered by the Common Council during its semi-monthly meeting on Monday night it had changed from the version seen by the Committee less than a week prior.
The maintenance plan approved by the Council is as follows:
2016 – 2nd Street from Madison Street to Roosevelt Street, Madison Street from 3rd Street to 4th Street, Garfield Court, Coolidge Street from 7th Street to 9th Street, and Garfield Street from 12th Street to 13th Street. A total of seven blocks, five blocks have water main replacement and 3.5 blocks have sewer main replacement.
2017 – 3rd Street from Monroe Street to Roosevelt Street, Monroe Street from 3rd Street to 4th Street, 11th Street from Monroe Street to Roosevelt Street, Grant Street from 11th Street to 12th Street, and 4th Street from Garfield Street to the east end of 4th Street. A total of six blocks, three blocks have water main replacement and five blocks have sewer main replacement.
2018 – 4th Street from Jackson Street to Garfield Street, and Brownwood Road (north/south portion). A total of four blocks, two blocks have water main replacement and there is no sewer main replacement. The City also plans to complete a water main loop along (or in the area of) the north City limits from Highway 61 to Roosevelt Street.
2019 – James Court from Roosevelt Street to the north City limits, Grant Street from 12th Street to 13th Street, 13th Street from Grant Street to Garfield Street, and Madison Street from 16th Street south to dead end. A total of six blocks, three blocks have water main replacement and two blocks have sewer main replacement.
2020 – Roosevelt Street from Diagonal Road to 6th Street, Grant Street from 9th Street to 10th Street, 11th Street from Lincoln Avenue to Jefferson Street, Madison Street from 6th Street to 8th Street. A total of six blocks, water main and sewer main not identified.
“With 21 blocks of ‘three’ rated streets, if we do six blocks a year, it would take three-and-a-half years to do the ‘threes,’” Biddick told the Committee. “I can guarantee in two years half of the ‘fours’ that I have are going to be dropping to threes. So it is never going to be a catch-up game here. We are going to keep getting further behind.”
At one time, the City reconstructed 11 or 12 blocks of streets each year, Biddick told the Committee.
“Now we are down to … last year we did a little over five blocks just because our budget was so tight last year we cut out most of a block,” he said. “This year, we are trying to salvage as much curb that is in pretty decent shape that we think can last another 40 years.
“And on the streets, going to replacing only one side of sidewalk has helped a little bit. For next year, only two of the blocks that are selected have sidewalk on them, so that is a savings of about $4,000 a block per sidewalk.”
Creation of a maintenance plan ensures the City will be eligible to receive Local Roads Improvement Program (LRIP) funding from the state.
“Next year we will take another look at it and see if that is still where we want to go,” Biddick said.