September 17, 2014

Omer council paves way to repair South Michigan Avenue

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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OMER — The Omer council agreed on a two-year plan to repave South Michigan Avenue from the city limits to US-23 at its regular meeting May 8.

The first step would be undertaken this year: the asphalt along the length of the road would be pulverized and reshaped, effectively making it a gravel road. Next year, with more money saved up by the city, the council proposes repaving the road.

Councilman Larry Daly explained South Michigan Avenue and Wall Street are in too bad of shape to simply make surface repairs and reseal, adding that cold patching was ineffective at this stage.

“If we try covering it, it would need repairs in a year,” Daly explained.

Daly said pulverizing and paving Wall Street would cost an estimated $25,000. To pulverize and pave the entirety of South Michigan at once would cost an estimated $52,000.

After anticipated budgetary expenses, however, the city only has $41,287 available in its local streets account. Pulverizing the entirety of South Michigan would cost an estimated $6,450. A proposal to split the paving between 2012 and 2013 fell flat, since it would cost an estimated $26,400 to pave half the road.

Daly said if revenues next year are similar to this year’s, and are combined with the carryover, there should be enough money to complete the paving project in one go.

Daly said the biggest problem facing the city’s efforts to get the road paved is the ever-increasing cost of asphalt. As an oil-based product, the price has gone up considerably over the past few years. Daly said it jumped $10 per ton in the past two years to $60 for hot-mix asphalt, driving up the cost nearly an additional $2,000 for a half-mile road like South Michigan.

Mayor Alice Sproule said a price jump next year could not be helped, given the council’s desire to have some money set aside for unexpected expenses.

Work on Wall Street would begin in 2014 under this proposal, but the council agreed that South Michigan has heavier traffic and is in worse shape.

“I don’t want to put money into Wall now,” Councilwoman Jill Eyre said. “Other streets need work.”

The council did not set a date for work to begin.

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