Eight months of pavement rehabilitation along Plano Road are expected to come to an end later this month when crews put the finishing touches (lane markings and road buttons) on the last portion of the project. The roughly five-mile stretch of repairs between the Bush Turnpike and Buckingham Road is part of the City’s ongoing commitment to drivable streets that also includes the work taking place on Alma Road and several more scheduled for 2019.
“Maintaining this network of almost 500 miles of pavement is never-ending because of so many factors,” said Assistant Director of Engineering Jim Lockart. “Weather, soil, traffic loads, age—they all play a part.”
While funding for street maintenance and special street projects has always been part of the City budget and included in City bond programs, it got a boost in 2010 when an improved economy prompted the City Council to dedicate 1 cent from the property tax rate toward a new street rehabilitation fund. This resulted in almost $1 million for street improvements in 2011-12. The amount dedicated from the tax rate has increased each year, to 2½ cents for 2018-19, generating $3.7 million of the total $4 million budgeted for streets.
Street funds are used for contracting maintenance of streets based on a good/fair/poor street grading system. Streets considered in “good or “fair” condition are scheduled for preventive maintenance such as grade restoration, sealing and localized concrete repair (to keep “good” streets good and bring “fair” streets up to good condition), and streets that are graded as “poor” are scheduled for replacement in Bond programs, with measures taken to assure safety until they can be replaced.
Currently, 80 percent of Richardson’s streets have not needed replacement in more than 30 years thanks to good maintenance practices (most of the City’s streets are constructed of concrete, which typically has an expected life of about 25 years). The new funding has enabled the City to replace asphalt street patches in several neighborhoods with full-depth concrete, significantly extending street life.
Lockart acknowledged that with an increase of street repair comes more traffic congestion as lanes or streets are blocked off, but that his department tries hard to provide information to residents and businesses in advance of projects, to minimize problems/inconvenience.
Work currently underway includes the aforementioned Alma Road project (between Arapaho Road and Greenville Avenue) as well as portions of residential streets including Greenleaf Drive, Winchester Drive, Pinehurst Drive and Lakeview Drive.
Upcoming work planned to begin in 2019 includes:
- three residential areas (south of West Belt Line Road between Weatherred Drive and US 75; the area between Plano Road and Jupiter Road, north of Arapaho Road and south of Collins Boulevard; and streets in the Canyon Creek elementary attendance zone) (this may change after a meeting on Dec. 27)
- portions of three collector streets (East Spring Valley Road between Grove Road and Jupiter Road; Custer Road south of Arapaho Road; and Owens Boulevard.
- 100 block of South Dorothy Drive (funded by 2015 Bond Program)