Friends and Neighbors,
Lots of people have called City Hall this spring to request attention to potholes and failing pavements in their neighborhoods. I thought you might like to know how the City goes about making repairs to our streets and sidewalks.
A REPORT ON THE CITY’S PROGRAM FOR MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OF STREETS
Dardenne Prairie has about 62 miles of public streets for which the City is responsible to maintain and repair. We conduct a physical inspection of the entire 62 miles every 2 years and rate every street in every subdivision. In between biennial inspections we examine potholes, cracks and other defects when spotted by City Staff or when a citizen calls us to report a problem.
General maintenance including filling potholes, crack sealing, and snowplowing is handled by the St. Charles County Highway Department under a contract with the City. A limited amount of slab replacement is performed by the County every year, as well. The extent of these services provided by the County varies from year to year depending upon how much slab replacement the County has time to perform for Dardenne Prairie and how much the City can afford to pay. In 2019 we contracted to spend $650,000 with the County, including $458,000 for slab replacement. The slab replacement work we budgeted for 2019 was based on the assessment of need from late summer of 2018 because the County requires our early input for their own budget process.
Generally, the prices we pay for the County to perform these services, including slab replacement, is lower than the price we would pay to private contractors. That is because the County contracts for a large amount of work and gets the benefit of volume discounts. Nevertheless, for the past 4 years we have contracted with private companies to perform additional slab replacement and other street and sidewalk repairs in order to make progress on the backlog of maintenance and repair items. If we were to replace all concrete slabs in our 62 miles of streets that currently need to be replaced or which we think will need to be replaced in the next 5 years, the cost would exceed $7 Million. The City cannot afford to spend that much in one year so we choose to replace those slabs that rank as the worst and to fill remaining potholes with asphalt patches. Most patches hold for a year or two, but some patches installed last summer failed to hold through this past winter.
How do we select the streets for immediate slab repair? Our inspections rate each neighborhood according to the condition of the concrete slabs. The conditions noted are existing cracks, potholes, and other failed conditions AND signs of deterioration that will likely result in pavement failure within 5 years. The scores assigned to each neighborhood determine which projects we assign to the County Road Department to repair and which projects the City contracts out to private companies. How much work is to be performed each year is determined during our annual budget process which is conducted from September to the first week of December when the Board of Aldermen sets the budget for the next calendar year.
After the particularly harsh winter we experienced this year there are a number of streets that need to be fixed. The County is patching potholes, though their crews have not yet completed all the work we have requested them to perform. The City Engineer and I have inspected several neighborhoods where citizens have identified streets in poor condition. The City does not have the money to replace all the slabs in all the neighborhoods but we do have funds to tackle some. I will ask the Board of Aldermen to authorize a substantial amount of additional slab replacement work to be performed this calendar year and the City will issue contracts for that work.
In order to prolong the life of our streets the City has embarked on a program of installing “expansion joints” in concrete slabs. Those joints help to relieve stress on the edges of concrete slabs and to reduce the probability of a slab breaking. In addition to this form of preventative maintenance the City also joined the newly created Eastern Missouri Pavement Consortium (EMPC) this year, along with St. Charles County and neighboring cities. The EMPC will hire inspectors to test aggregate at quarries supplying pavement contractors and will be present a ready mix plants to inspect the preparation of cement mixes being delivered to job sites. The purpose of these inspections is to insure the participating cities get the quality of concrete they are paying for and to reduce or eliminate instances of substandard concrete used in building streets in our area.
Our summer concert and food truck rally is going well. The next concert is scheduled for July 19 at 7:00 PM at City Hall Park and features the Well Hungarians. CORE soccer camp for kids 6-18 is scheduled for July 15-18. Future events for adults include a Skyline Dinner Cruise on the Mississippi on July 26. On August 20 we have scheduled a day trip to the Warm Spring Ranch near Boonville to see the Budweiser Clydesdale farm, then a buffet lunch and visit to the Capri Casino.
The next Board of Aldermen meeting is Tuesday, July 2 beginning at 6:00 PM at City Hall. Come see your City Government at work.
“Shine a Light on City Government”
DAVID C. ZUCKER
City of Dardenne Prairie, MO