Sedona AZ (December 23, 2016) – Many folks wonder why we still have streets in Sedona that are not paved. Others wonder why their street has not been repaved sooner. Or, others ask why the city doesn’t take ownership of a private street, which needs to be upgraded. In answer to these questions — the city’s budget has competing priorities to maintain the streets already committed to, therefore the city cannot take over additional street maintenance.
Since its incorporation in 1988, the city of Sedona has been challenged with keeping its pavement maintenance at a desirable pace. With incorporation, the city inherited streets built well before that time. This left the city with a large inventory of infrastructure and a limited maintenance budget.
Historically, the city has used state levied Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) to help fund the maintenance of our 110 miles of city streets. In recent years, the gasoline tax and other revenue sources that fund HURF have dwindled. In addition, HURF has been used to balance the state budget in areas other than transportation maintenance. This reallocation of HURF dollars has impacted the city’s paving budget.
Beginning in fiscal year 2016-17, the city’s paving budget was increased in an effort to try to catch up with what would be an adequate rate of maintenance. The new goal is to repave four to five miles of streets per year with an approximate $1.5 million budget.
This fiscal year, Mountain Shadows Drive, Pony Soldier Drive and Sunset Drive have been paved. In spring 2017, Elberta Drive, Mormon Hill Road, Navahopi Road, Orchard Lane, Sedona Vista Drive and Tonto Road will be paved at a cost of approximately $750,000 to surface a little over three miles. City staff will schedule paving additional streets with the remaining budget for this fiscal year.
In an ongoing effort to stretch tax dollars, city staff researched innovative paving methods that would allow more maintenance with less cost. Through this effort the city found a paving technique called Fractured Aggregate Surface Treatment (FAST). This is a paving method that is similar to what many refer to as chip seal. However, this modern technique eliminates the negative characteristics that are typically found with chip seal. In addition, we estimate it is approximately 50 percent more cost effective than a more common mill and replace type of pavement rehabilitation.
The FAST technique includes pre-coating the rock aggregate and increasing the thickness of the binder material to improve adhesion. This significantly reduces the amount of rock that is spoiled in the process, which reduces the rock that is loose on the road. In addition, the thicker binder results in less tracking of binder material onto adjacent driveways and bleed-off into drainage ways.
A test application was made this past October on Pony Soldier Drive. The city is in ongoing discussion with other agencies who have utilized the FAST paving application, and the community around Pony Soldier Drive. Initial feedback has been that this application looks nice and has a traffic calming effect, due to the rougher surface.
We will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of FAST while updating the paving schedule in preparation for our next budget cycle. Our anticipation is the FAST application will allow us to meet our goal of repaving four to five miles of streets per year at approximately $1.5 million, and possibly exceed our goal.