Bastrop News

Tackling The Streets

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City spends millions on keeping up vital infrastructure

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer

Trey Job, City of Bastrop Public Works Director, puts it precisely when it comes to the task of repairing streets within the city.

“We’ve got a couple dozen poor streets, but we’re working hard every day to take care of the streets for our citizens,” Job said during a recent interview at Maxine’s Cafe downtown. (That would be ‘an early morning breakfast’ meeting with a reporter, because Job stays plenty busy.)

On a recent day both city and contracted crews could be seen doing major work at multiple locations around downtown streets:  major city work is being done along Farm Street – both utility work and then new ‘curb and concrete’ for the street when the utilities work is finished. There was also work being done at the intersection of Pecan and Spring streets, as well as patching holes in other spots around town.  It’s a job without much letup:  “We have a five-man crew dedicated to streets and drainage – that’s their main function,” Job said, adding that Kevin Wilson is the “streets” superintendent, that goes along with his official title of Public Works Superintendent.

Streets are marked as good, fair or poor, Job said – according to defects in pavement, any cracking and drainage issues. “We do the ‘poor’ streets immediately,” Job said. Much of the work entails “building upon what was there before.” One particular street – Farm Street – was “in such poor shape” that it is undergoing major repairs. “It is a main thoroughfare that brings you all the way into town,” Job added.

“One key to maintaining streets is keeping moisture out,” Job said. He cited two examples of seal coats that the city uses to combat moisture: a “fog” seal is a fast-settling and specially formulated asphalt emulsion (a thin liquid oil) that is used – it protects an aging pavement surface and seals up the small cracks to keep water out of the pavement; and a chip seal can also be used, it is composed of tar and rock which is longer lasting, Job added.

Bastrop’s crews (including Parks & Recreation Superintendent Jason Alfaro and his crew) have had additional challenges after the recent storms at one of the city’s main parks: “Fisherman’s Park was mess. There was a little bit of erosion,” Job said. At one point waters from the Colorado went well over their banks and into the park after heavy rains right before and during the Memorial Day weekend. After the river went back down about a week after Memorial Day, it went right back up with more rains overnight on June 16-17. The water also has impact on streets, eroding smaller rough spots even more.

Job talked about some of the current street projects, part of an overall strategy to stay on top of the task. The city is making use of certificates of obligations, as well as voter-approved bonds from previous years, for funding the various streets and drainage projects. Citizens can see a complete (and easy to understand) listing of finished as well as ongoing and future work – called Capital Improvement Projects – by going to the city’s website at: www.cityof Bastrop.org – just click on Departments  at top tab; scroll down to  Public Works – then click on Street Projects. Projects can be seen from Fiscal Years 2013-2014, 2015 and up to 2017. The figures include the amounts spent on each street that has been repaired as well as total amount for a given year, as well as planned projects. For example, $1,232,432 was spent on streets for 2013-2014, including $585,000 on Chambers Street (from Cedar to Hawthorne streets). Job said ‘the job’ of keeping up with street repairs also entails a budgetary challenge: “We’ve got more work than funding,” Job said, which doesn’t dampen the concentration of his hard-working crew in the Street Department. (Photos by Terry Hagerty)

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