Sixteen city streets to be resurfaced

By Tom Joyce -

If travel conditions on certain streets in Mount Airy are a bit rough, the good news is that relief is in store through a newly approved project — although the work will cost more than anticipated.

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners has voted 5-0 to award a contract for nearly $400,000 to an Elkin paving company to resurface 16 different streets in town.

That project involves Year Two of a multi-year plan presented to the commissioners in early 2016.

It will include the application of about 4,240 tons of asphalt to streets including Saddle Creek Way, Hillhaven Lane, Foxcroft Drive, Pine Knoll Drive, Ridgecrest Drive, Woodridge Drive, Quail Run Road, Greenbriar Street, Montclair Drive, Laurel Ridge Place, Oakmont Place, Pembrook Place, Barberry Place, Hunting Hill Drive, Grandview Drive and Beechtree Circle.

Streets maintained by the city government are scheduled for resurfacing based on a priority list ranking those with the greatest needs.

In planning for the 2018 resurfacing project, $339,042 was budgeted, but when bids were sought from area paving companies, the lowest came in at $396,590. That offer, from Carl Rose & Sons, was $57,548, or about 17 percent, over budget. Three firms bid on the job, including one from Winston-Salem and another based in Jefferson, whose proposals were $454,680 and $445,615, respectively.

“It appears there is ample work available for paving contractors at present,” states a city government memo from Public Works Director Jeff Boyles, “thus driving up the price.” Asphalt for the past two resurfacing projects undertaken by Mount Airy, in 2014 and 2016, cost $75 to $75.50 per ton, while the low bid this year reflects a figure of $93.50.

Instead of reducing the scope of work planned, Boyles recommended that the commissioners approve the transfer to the project of $80,000 to fund the full slate of work, from reserves in a Powell Bill fund used for street resurfacing.

They concurred with that recommendation, which brought the total appropriation for the project to $419,042. This is providing contingency funding of about 6 percent to cover unforeseen circumstances that arise during the resurfacing project.

It is expected to be completed by the end of June, according to Boyles. He pointed to Carl Rose & Sons’ status as a Surry County business that has resurfaced streets for the city in the past with satisfactory results.

The Powell Bill monies targeted for street improvements come to localities such as Mount Airy from the state government and traditionally have been tied to the gasoline tax.

Although Mount Airy gets annual appropriations from the state, it generally has undertaken street-resurfacing projects on an every-other-year basis. City Manager Barbara Jones has said this allows more streets to be included at a time and is more cost-efficient.

Jones said the amount originally budget for the 2018 project and the extra money needed for the $419,042 total will all come from the city’s Powell Bill fund. Its reserves will still contain $540,000 after the latest action is processed.

The N.C. Department of Transportation maintains major routes through Mount Airy, such as U.S. 52 and U.S. 601, but the municipality is responsible for about 70 miles of city-owned streets.

Housing appointments OK’d

In addition to the resurfacing project approval, which came during a commissioners meeting last Thursday night, they voted during the same meeting on two members for the board that oversees Mount Airy’s public-housing facilities.

Tom Fawcett, a present commissioner on the city housing authority governing board whose term expired Friday, was reappointed to a new five-year term extending to Feb. 16, 2023.

Greg Perkins was appointed to the housing group to replace Sharon Reid.

Reid had resigned on Dec. 31 due to relocating to Bermuda Run, more than a year before the expiration of her present term on Feb. 16, 2019.

Perkins was approved to serve the remainder of that term.

By Tom Joyce

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.