Anoka to add 3 miles of street improvements

The Anoka City Council has approved road work that will improve the surface of 3.1 miles of streets.

This is part of the city’s Street Surface Improvement Program, in which the asphalt is totally replaced but no work is done to the underlying infrastructure.

The council unanimously approved a $1,084,207 bid from Midwest Asphalt Corporation. Three contractors bid on the full-depth reclamation project.

This will include streets that are bordered by Seventh Avenue to the west, 38th Avenue to the north, the eastern city limit, and Roosevelt Street to the south, according to Greg Lee, public services director and city engineer.

Four years ago the city added this surface improvement program to bolster its efforts in street replacement and maintenance.

Lee explained that it is more comprehensive than the mill and overlay work some cities are doing, in which only the top inch or two of asphalt is ground down and paved over.

“That’s fine but you’re not going to get the longevity of a full depth reclamation,” Lee said. “If the original asphalt had cracks in it … you get what’s called reflective cracking coming back in through the new bituminous, generally within a year.”

But a more thorough job does add to the expense.

The city had also asked for bids on three alternative projects, but staff did not recommend approval because there wasn’t enough funding left over in the $1.27 million budget for this particular type of road work.

Like many cities and counties, Anoka continues to try to keep up with deteriorating roads after an especially harsh winter.

At one point, Lee said city crews were putting 12 tons of asphalt on Anoka’s streets every day.

Over the past several years, fund balances from the city’s electric utility have been used to pay for the Street Surface Improvement Program.

Councilmember Jeff Weaver said he has asked staff in the budgeting process to identify a permanent funding source for the road work.

“We need to find a yearly funding source to keep this project moving forward,” Weaver said.

The item also sparked discussion on the affect of numerous garbage trucks regularly traveling in.

“Garbage trucks by far are the heaviest vehicles we have on the road,” Lee said.

According to recent studies, Lee said, a fully loaded garbage truck is the equivalent of 9,300 trips by an SUV.

In Anoka, residents are able to choose their own garbage hauler, rather than having a single hauler take care of either the entire city, or designated portions.

This means multiple garbage trucks are traveling the same street, sometimes several times a week.

“Reducing that stress on the roads would be helpful,” Lee said.

City Manager Tim Cruikshank said the issue of designating haulers for certain parts of the city will be up for discussion at a work session later this year, or early in 2015.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]