City Engineer Keith Helmuth Wednesday night explained his plans to improve some of the city’s streets, but he warned the improvements would only slow the deterioration of some street surfaces.
Workers will use Reclamite to coat and seal the surfaces of roads that are showing wear but still aren’t crumbling. Reclamite is an oil-and-resin product that is meant to restore and preserve the binder in asphalt, thus extending the life of the pavement. That’s according to Corrective Asphalt Materials, a company which sells Reclamite.
The company says Reclamite will hold the street surface together, depending on use and weather, for five to seven years, thus extending the life of the pavement.
The better solution, however, would be to resurface all streets regularly with asphalt, Helmuth said. But only a few streets will get that this year — a portion of Gateway Drive between Olive Avenue and 9th Street, Almond Avenue between Schnoor Avenue and Commerce Drive, and D Street between Sherwood Way and Adell Street.
Madera isn't alone in its street problems.
“The streets are failing across America,” Helmuth told the council.
City Administrator David Tooley seconded Helmuth’s lament.
“As a nation, we’re losing our streets,” said Tooley, “and Madera is right in there with the best.”
If you drive into the county, you see even worse conditions, although the Madera County Road Department labors to get the most bang for the road buck. Some county roads actually seem to be disappearing with wear, and probably will never be restored. Maybe they’ll go back to being gravel roads some day.
The city and county are doing their best, and so are the taxpayers, passed road-construction measures that are resulting in road improvements even as you read this.
At some point, though, we may have to spend a lot more on roads and streets than we are now. Don’t be surprised if it is sooner rather than later.