MATTHEWS – The Matthews Board of Commissioners voted to spend $42,000 on a pavement condition survey of the town’s roads at its board meeting on Feb. 25. But Mayor Paul Bailey indicated to the board more may have to be done to maintain roads than what is currently budgeted.
The current budget has $1.4 million available for resurfacing, and $1.2 million will be spent this year on a resurfacing program that covers 34 streets. The cost of the individual street projects ranges from a high of approximately $115,000 for Kimway Drive to a low of $5,100 for one of four projects in Crestdale.
The board also discussed pavement conditions at the town’s annual planning conference Feb. 22 and 23. Bailey again said at the Feb. 25 meeting that the town has “got behind on road repairs.”
“We need to examine what is going to be required,” Bailey said Feb. 25. “We need to start being more aggressive with the roads and get the streets repaired.’’
At the planning conference meeting on Feb. 23, Bailey said he feels like many of town’s roads are deteriorating faster than the money that is being reinvested in the streets. He told the board he wondered “if this was something we need to focus on.’’
“It almost feels like the school system. We have invested money but not quite enough, and you reach a point where it is out of control,” Bailey said. “You can’t get up to the standard that you want to have.”
Bailey then asked Public Works Director C.J. O’Neill if he agreed with that sentiment.
“Yeah, unfortunately, I do,” O’Neill responded.
Bailey said he would like to see the town develop a 10-year plan for road maintenance.
“What do we have to spend to get all the roads up to standard?” Bailey asked. “What kind of price tag? I am not saying that we will do that.”
The town last conducted a condition survey in 2014. O’Neill said a survey should be done every two to three years because the rate on how much streets degrade varies from road to road based on the variability of asphalt, different construction methods, weather conditions, traffic, traffic loads and other variables.
“You just can’t use that same survey year after year to figure out what we want to do the following year,” O’Neill said. “They can compare to see how the roads fared to last time. It will help us direct our activities for the next several years.’’
Commissioner John Higdon, who stated he was “stingy” when it comes to funding studies, said the town needs to do a better job communicating to it’s residents why a new survey needs to be conducted every several years.
“I do think that this one is worthwhile,” Higdon said. “We haven’t done a good job of informing the public of why it is required. I don’t think they understand all the nuances of this.’’
Higdon said at the planning conference that the town needs to spend more money on maintaining roads.
“Clearly, we need to be spending more,” Higdon said. “We just keep kicking this can down the road. Some future board is going to have to spend millions and millions of dollars to fix our roads if we don’t get ahold of them.”