It’s probably no secret that many of Wellington’s streets could use some work. A step has been taken in that direction, as last Tuesday’s city council meeting focused heavily on the discussion of city streets.
The resolutions portion of the meeting centered around potentially authorizing City Manager, Roy Eckert, to execute an agreement with the Barnhardt Group of Kennesaw, GA, to conduct a pavement management study in an amount not to exceed $24,000.
Jeremy Jones, Director of Public Works, was present at the meeting to present to the council the reason behind the move. Jones explained that many streets in town are made up of different surfaces and have different treatments on them and underneath them. Without a comprehensive knowledge of the history of the streets, it is difficult to go about properly maintaining them in the future.
“We know that we have a poor base material under a number of our roads,” Jones said.
Jones also referenced a past experience with “band-aid” fixes, which he acknowledged were sometimes necessary.
However, this move to bring in the Barnhardt Group will at the very least give the city the necessary knowledge to make more long-term improvements moving forward as opposed to the band-aid fixes of the past.
Jones stated that there are officials who have been around a long time who don’t even know what is underneath some of Wellington’s streets because of how long they’ve been around and the number of times they’ve been resurfaced. The survey by the Barnhardt Group would supply the City with all of that information, which should prove invaluable when it comes to future street rehabilitation and maintenance.
Councilman Kip Etter questioned whether Wellington had enough streets to justify this move.
“The City of Wellington is responsible for approximately 60 miles of paved streets and seven miles of gravel roads with an estimated value of $40 million,” Jones told the council.
“We’re going to spend this money one way or another, but I would feel much more responsible financially and sleep better at night if I knew I was spending money in the future that’s going to get us farther. Our current techniques simply aren’t working,” Jones added.
Etter also wondered if the results of the pavement management study would allow any capacity to adjust if the City has a preference of what streets they’d like to work on as a priority.
Jones told the council that the study would show the City what condition various streets are in and why, but that the City could still determine its own priorities for what street maintenance to do moving forward.
“All of us up here realize that in order to move forward, Wellington has to know where it came from and where we want to go, and that is just part of that long-term strategic planning,” Mayor Shelley Hansel said.
“I recognize $24,000 is a lot of money, but it is about 0.5% of our total estimated value of our street system,” Jones added. “So we’re going to spend half a percent to do a study to see how to proceed over the next 10-plus years.”
The pavement management study, which was approved unanimously after about 30 minutes of discussion, is expected to begin soon and take about three weeks to complete.
- Second and third grade students from Washington Elementary were present for the early portion of the meeting, leading the room in the Pledge of Allegiance.
- A work session has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22. On the agenda for the work session will be the discussion of the demolition of properties, utility rates and several other projects.