A list of streets that will likely be resurfaced starting in May is available on the city's website at cityblm.org. (WJBC file photo)
By Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - The City of Bloomington is focusing on the quality of its streets and sewers.
The city council heard proposed preliminary resurfacing and repair plans for streets and alleys throughout Bloomington. Public Works Director Jim Karch said major road projects will be his focus in the coming months.
"Now we have a street rating system that all citizens can go out online and see," Karch said. "We have been very aggressive with our preventative maintenance. Our sewer master plan is something we have put a great emphasis on and that will help us."
The city may approve $4 million for road projects in 2013. Karch and City Manager David Hales said that number has risen incrementally in recent years but will only cover the start of what would be $60 million in road repairs in order to get all city streets up to a rating of six out of ten.
The projects only scratch the surface of citywide needs but will thoroughly cover priority areas.
"What we are trying to take a look at more are underground utilities, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, ramps, even street signs, the things that you don't see," Karch said. "It isn't just an overlay; we have to take into account what is there and what it's going to look like when we are done."
According to Karch, sewer systems under much of the city are 80 to 100 years old and must be updated during the resurfacing projects.
"When we come into the block and we resurface it, we need to take into account what's under that pavement," Karch said. "Those are the types of things in the past that haven't necessarily been done and we are continuing to make progress in that direction for the sewer rating system."
Karch also said sidewalks and curbs will receive heavy attention along with expanded surface treatments and maintenance.
"We are striving to come through an area and make the whole block have a better feel and a better look to it," Karch said.
You can call 434-BUMP or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you see an especially troubling stretch of road. Karch said his crews generally will respond and make a fix within 72 hours.
The city's fiscal year ends on April 30. The council will vote Feb. 11 on improvements to over 120 city streets.
Wirtz Beverage gets final go-ahead
Wirtz Beverage received approval from the city in regards to the Bloomington Public Library. With the library abatement, Wirtz has approval from all necessary government organizations to help save the alcohol distributor about $955,000 on property taxes during its first five years.
Zach Dietmeier can be reached at email@example.com.