Chris Beutler today announced a four-part comprehensive, pro-active strategy that will increase the pace and scale of street construction in the City over the next two years. The plan includes $10 million in new funding for street rehabilitation and repair; the use of new technology to improve pothole repairs; reconstruction and widening of arterials; and an increase in residential street repair.
"Streets literally pave the way toward new, good paying jobs, both in construction and in the new business opportunities they create," Beutler said. "Good streets contribute to our high quality of life by improving safety, reducing congestion and preventing costly vehicle repairs. Most importantly, every taxpayer dollar spent today on streets can save at least five dollars in future repair costs."
The $10 million in new funding is the result of the final accounting of the Antelope Valley Project. The Joint Antelope Valley Authority is expected to return those funds to the City at its meeting later this month, and the Mayor will introduce an ordinance to the City Council to dedicate that money toward additional street rehabilitation and repair. The Mayor said adding $10 million to the City's planned $9 million investment in street repair will move the start of major projects up as much as five years.
The Mayor said a portion of the $10 million will be used for equipment, including two new types of innovative equipment to repair potholes and pavement cracks. A "poly patching machine" will extend the life of repairs from weeks or months to as long as five years. New truck-mounted spray patchers will more than double the productivity of pothole crews.
"With these spray patchers, four workers can do the work of ten," Beutler said. "That allows us to move more crews into the kind of permanent repair and rehab work that prevents potholes in the first place. The new technology will help us stretch our street dollars even further, allowing us to get more done more quickly."
Beutler said about $36 million will be invested in the reconstruction and widening of major arterials. "Once those roads are expanded, they open up new opportunities for entrepreneurs to create even more jobs," Beutler said. "We witnessed similar expanded economic activity over the last five years as we completed 60 miles of arterial improvements. Once those roads were expanded, drivers have benefitted from faster, safer streets and everyone has benefitted from the new private sector investment that occurred."
Over the last five years, the City has improved about 400 blocks of residential streets or 80 per year. Beutler plans to increase that to 200 blocks over the next two years or 100 per year, a 25-percent increase. "Neighborhood streets cannot be an afterthought in our streets program," he said. "With the sidewalk repair backlog set to be eliminated by the end of the year, neighborhood infrastructure will receive a tremendous boost."
Beutler said investing in streets pays big dividends for a community. "Our plan is simple," he said. "New funding will repair the streets you drive on every day. New technology will make pothole repair faster and longer lasting. Reconstruction and widening will speed traffic and encourage economic growth. Fixing residential streets will strengthen neighborhoods. Our street building plan is a path to an even brighter future."