After 4-year absence, chip-seal street work returns to Kingman

AHRON SHERMAN/Miner<br>
The corner of Detroit Street and Emilie Circle will get chip-seal work Monday.

AHRON SHERMAN/Miner<br> The corner of Detroit Street and Emilie Circle will get chip-seal work Monday.

Four years ago, city officials could proudly state: This is your street. These days: This is your street on crack.

That's about the change.

The city's chip-sealing program - dormant since 2008 - is back and ready to rehabilitate some of Kingman's ailing roads.

Thanks to $600,000 worth of bar and restaurant tax revenue, the city will begin filling cracks and smoothing streets Monday. The project will continue through Aug. 2.

"We'll still be four years behind when we're done," said Public Works Director Rob Owen.

When the program was fully funded, the city budgeted between $750,000 and $900,000 annually for chip sealing, Owen said. So, even if the bar and restaurant tax revenue provides $600,000 a year for the program, the city will continue slipping further and further behind unless the economy picks up.

"Maybe revenue increases, and we get back to being fully funded," Owen said.

City Manager Jack Kramer said that streets are typically on a maintenance rotation, and they need to be repaired every six years. The Highway User Revenue Fund, the state-shared revenue mechanism cities used for road rehabilitation when times were good, has decreased significantly over the last half-decade. Subsequently, Kingman needed to find another way to fund the program or just go without it, which it did for the last four years.

The longer the city went without the program, the more likely it became that some roads would need to be completely replaced. When Council voted to institute a 2-percent bar and restaurant tax starting Jan. 1, the argument for the tax came down to two issues - the chip-sealing program and public safety.

The first six months worth of bar and restaurant tax revenue was allocated for the chip sealing program, while the remaining half of the year will be devoted to public safety, Kramer said. As long as the tax is on the books, the revenue will be basically split in half for the two programs, he added.

Chip sealing takes up all Street Department time when it happens.

"It's an all hands on deck type of thing," Owen said.

All 13 men from the department will be chip sealing, and employees from other departments will need to be borrowed as well, he said. Plus, they'll all be working longer days.

"Please watch out for our guys when they're out there," Owen said.

Chip sealing is unique in the fact that roads don't need to be completely closed for it to happen.

The process is simple yet time consuming. First, oil is sprayed on a street and seeps into cracks. Next, a layer of asphalt chips is laid over the street. The layer of rock is given time to set and adhere before a street sweeper is brought in to clear the dust and dirt.

Once the layer of "chips" is down, the road is safe to drive on as long as drivers take it easy, Owen said. The faster one goes on a freshly repaired street, the more they risk losing control of the vehicle because of loose rock, he said.

"Once it's done," Owen said. "People will notice a difference."

Monday's scheduled chip seals:

Detroit Street from Stockton Hill Road to Emilie Circle; Emilie Circle from North to South, Mark Drive from Sunrise Avenue to Foothill Avenue; Kathleen Avenue from Western Avenue to Mark Drive; Kathleen Alley from Western Avenue to Mark Drive; Foothill Avenue from Golf Drive to Miles Drive; Miles Drive from Foothill Avenue to Sunrise Avenue; Sunrise Avenue from Western Avenue to Interstate 40; and Western Avenue from Sunrise Avenue to the south end of the street.

Tuesday's scheduled chip seals:

Miami Avenue from Stockton Hill Road to Western Avenue; Chicago Avenue from Stockton Hill Road to Western Avenue; Pacific Avenue from Stockton Hill Road to Western Avenue; Atlantic Avenue from Stockton Hill Road to La Salle Street; Atlantic Avenue from La Salle Street to Western Avenue; Airfield Avenue from Stockton Hill Road to Golf Drive; Airfield Court from Airfield Avenue to the end of the street; and Hope Avenue from Stockton Hill Road to Western Avenue.

Owen said the schedule is being left open in case of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances. On a street's scheduled day, people should expect driving conditions to be restricted, he said.