Maintenance plans include North Main Street and roads near the middle school

by: CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The City of Prineville applied a slurry seal treatment to a portion of a street in spring 2013. They will utilize the method extensively this summer.

Summer is fast approaching and for the City of Prineville Public Works Department, that means it’s time to start on annual street maintenance projects.

For the past few years, the city has focused much of its attention on downtown Prineville, and while one repair project will be in that area, other maintenance projects will tackle Main Street as well as a portion of town near Crook County Middle School.

“The first project we have out to bid is the 2014 slurry seal,” said City Street Supervisor Scott Smith. “A slurry seal, unlike an overlay or paving, is kind of a little pug mill set up on the back of a truck. What it does is it mixes an asphalt emulsion and a real fine crushed rock together.”

The machine lays the mix on the street, Smith explained, and then they spread it with a squeegee.

“The final surface is about a quarter-inch thick.”

The streets slated for the treatment include North Main Street, from Ninth Street to Peters Road, and East Second and First streets from Deer Street to Fairview Street.

Smith said the slurry seal will cost about $140,000, which is much cheaper than other paving alternatives. In addition, the method will enable them to make some striping upgrades.

“On Second Street, we have had some complaints about the diagonal parking behind the courthouse,” he said. “The westbound travel lane is pretty narrow. Doing this treatment will allow us to move the center line over.”

The city has also planned to change the four lane portion of North Main Street to a three lane road, and the slurry seal is expected to make that process easier.

“Probably the biggest reason we are changing to a three-lane segment is it’s going to allow us to make a wider pedestrian/bike path, which is going to make it that much safer up through there,” Smith said. “It will allow for a center turn lane for better access into Contact (Industries) and Woodgrain.”

Public works will also complete some grind and inlay projects, where the existing pavement is ground up and the street is resurfaced with new asphalt.

“This will be our fifth year of doing that,” Smith said.

Past projects have primarily focused on the downtown core, but this year, the city will repair streets in two separate neighborhoods.

“We will be doing three blocks on Mariposa Avenue from Main Street to Clearview Way,” Smith said. “We will do Southeast Knowledge Street from Southeast Second Street to Lynn Boulevard, Southeast Second Street from Idlewood Street to Knowledge Street, and Idlewood Street from Northeast Third Street to Southeast Second Street.”

The grind and inlay project can start as early as July 7, but must be completed by Sept. 2, Smith said. The slurry seal is slated for early August.

When it comes to traffic interruption, Smith anticipates delays on North Main during the slurry seal project, but has scheduled the work on a weekend to create the least amount of impact.

The slurry seal project will be a first for the city after testing the method on a block of Prineville road a year ago. Smith hopes the method will become a viable option in subsequent years as the city tries to keep street maintenance costs low.

“Our goal is to be successful and continue this program into the future,” he said, “because it is much, much cheaper than repaving.”

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