City looking at pavement repairs

The Odessa City Council looked at figures from their transportation master study last week, which indicated they need to put significantly more funding toward pavement management to prevent street conditions from worsening further.

Results from Kimley-Horn, the company behind the transportation study, showed that of the 515 miles of city-owned streets, the average pavement condition index of the roadways was 55. On a scale of 0 to 100, this is right on the border between poor and fair condition of the street pavement.

Common distresses in city roadways included bleeding, alligator cracking and rutting, and the pavement had a weighted average age of about 40 years, about five years past pavement’s typical lifespan.

Kimley-Horn ran different price points to see how much it would cost to see a positive improvement to the city’s PCI, and determined it would take funding of at least $10 million a year.

“If you’re at $5 million a year, it would indicate that road condition would still decline,” City Public Works Director Tom Kerr said.

For every $5 million spent, Kimley-Horn estimated the city would be able to reconstruct about 1.25 miles of street, about 2.5 miles a year, or 25 miles during the next decade.

Kimley-Horn employees drove on all of the major roadways in Odessa and some of the residential roads to determine the PCI. Some of poorest roads with a PCI between 11 and 25, considered “serious” included portions of University Boulevard near Dixie Boulevard and JBS Parkway, 52nd Street west of Grandview Avenue, and Grandview Avenue north of Yukon Road. Other portions of Grandview Avenue, University Boulevard, Yukon Road and Dixie Boulevard also had a PCI rating between 26 and 40, considered “very poor.”

University Boulevard is one area the city is already addressing. Two months ago, council members approved a $14 million proposal for an improvement project that would widen the street from Andrews Highway to Grandview Avenue, with project completion expected by January 2021.

As time goes on, it becomes more costly to repair these damaged roadways. Kimley-Horn’s presentation showed pavement maintenance would cost about $5 per square-yard for pavement in good condition.

That number increases steeply if the pavement goes unmanaged for years. Without treatment, the pavement could drop to poor condition in about 15 years, which could cost $30 per square-yard for resurfacing, installing a new layer of asphalt, or a mill and overlay, the process of removing the top layer of asphalt and replacing it, and if the condition becomes serious, it could cost up to $100 per square-yard for complete reconstruction.

District 2 City Council Member Dewey Bryant said the city was looking at raising the budget for roadway maintenance next year from $2.5 million to $5.5 million, which is still below the $10 million Kimley-Horn says is needed.

“That’s a pretty big jump,” Bryant said of the budget increase. “I think those needs are probably going to have to be entertained in some other way in funding, especially if it’s a yearly type of deal.”

Some other funding opportunities are already being looked at, including possible grant funding, or possibly taking on debt through a bond or a certificate of obligation.