June 11, 2009

Council Expands Paving Project Beyond City Square

Following a successful experiment resurfacing streets on and immediately adjacent to the city square, the Memphis Board of Alderman voted 3-0 to expand the program this summer.

The city agreed to pursue the $100,000 project to install new hot-mix street surfaces on the five blocks immediately adjacent to the city square. Last summer the city resurfaced three of these blocks.

With a price tag more than five times that of the existing resurfacing system, the move was debated on its merits.

Street Superintendent Roy Monroe noted that concrete would offer the most longevity, but with a price tag of more than $330,000 for the project, the council decided to go with the second option.

Monroe stated the price quote from WL Miller included prep and finish work such as milling of the roadways to meet existing intersection levels as well as curb and gutter seams and joints.

Monroe said the $99,000 projected price tag for the entire five-block job is significantly higher than the $3,500 it costs to do a city block with the chip and seal system used on most city streets.

However the latter process is done every other year, while the hot mix surface is expected to last a decade or more.

“It takes about 70 ton of cold mix to do a block at a price of $50 a ton,” Monroe said. “But with hot mix you don’t anticipate having the maintenance costs we have on a regular basis with cold mix.”

Alderman Lucas Remley reiterated those thoughts, noting that hot mix would alleviate many of the headaches associated with the chip and seal system, while offering a much better driving surface that will last much longer on some of the more heavily traveled streets in the city.

Monroe noted that much of the cost associated with hot mix is related to the distance Memphis is from existing plants. But with WL Miller scheduled to resurface Highway 63 north to the Iowa line, Monroe pointed out the costs may be lower than expected do to the proximity.

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