Port Arthur city manager updates street repair project
Published 12:40 am Saturday, June 10, 2023
As the city continues a six-year $60 million street repair project that began in 2019, officials are ensuring residents that work is and will continue.
“This year alone we have completed more than 60 streets in the City of Port Arthur,” City Manager Ron Burton said. “That’s the momentum we have picked up.”
In 2019, City Council approved the use of a vehicle that would perform an analysis on each road within the city, identifying those in greatest need of repair.
While driving, the vehicle provided an x-ray of each street, providing information on its structure and other related data.
But, Burton said, the vehicle did not identify other areas that were pertinent to providing accurate repairs.
“It just did a condition analysis,” he said. “Whether they had one house, two houses or no house at all; it just told you the condition of the street.”
Last year councilmembers joined city staff to evaluate the streets in their respective districts to ensure those marked urgent for repairs were as widely used as those marked less urgent.
In addition, last April city staff realized previous employees had not maintained proper records of streets that had already been addressed.
When the city changed primary engineers mid-way through the project, they had to revisit previously scheduled repairs to update the database on which had and hadn’t been addressed.
City Engineer John Cannatella also said inflation had almost doubled the cost of repairs first budgeted in 2018.
But the funding, Burton said, is available. And repairing a street, he added, is not as simple as repaving a road.
The engineering department, street striping department and public works department are working in conjunction to perform engineering plans for roadways that will soon undergo rehabilitation.
“It’s not just a matter of looking at the street,” Burton said. “You have to improve drainage first, remove damaged culverts. You want to know part of your due diligence is if there is a ruptured water or sewer line, you want to repair that first then repair the street. If not, you have to dig it up and repair the same street again.”
The city is working with a contractor to double the amount of repairs that can be done at once. Those done in house cost a fraction of what is contracted out.
“We alone as a public work department do not have the full capability of doing all the streets on our own,” Burton said. “The bigger ones that require total rehabilitation. But we are making steady progress.”