A two-week project in Oakdale designed to improve the pavement and sidewalk areas of River Bluff Drive and connecting courts along the roadway has been completed, making the roadway a far better drive than before.
According to Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer, the project was paid for with gas tax funds at a cost of $167,696.
The project included the removal of 11 old sidewalk curb ramps that were replaced with new curb ramps that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The street segments were resurfaced with special fiber seal technology that allowed the city to repave those streets at a fraction of the cost of a full street reconstruction project.
“I’ve been getting a lot of positive compliments about the project from the residents on the street,” Whitemyer said on Nov. 26. “I just got off the phone with one resident who lives on River Bluff and he said that it is 100 times better than before. He also mentioned that the neighbors he has spoken with have been very pleased with the end result.”
Prior to the project, River Bluff Drive was riddled with cracks and gaps along the half-mile residential street.
“It helped it a lot from what it was before,” said River Bluff Drive homeowner Josh Gibson.
Some residents, however, aren’t so sure the city took the right course of action with just the sealing of the asphalt.
“It’s a temporary fix,” said Oakdale resident (and father of Josh), Mark Gibson. “The street should have been ground down. Fix it right so it can last 40 years.”
Another resident who identified himself only as “Ed” said he worked in road construction for over 40 years and was not satisfied how the work was performed. He said the cracks in the street were only paved over, rather than having the asphalt cut out and re-poured.
“Those cracks are just going to reappear in two to three years,” Ed said. “It makes the neighborhood look nice and will shut everyone up, but in two years it will be back to the same.”
“It’s definitely a lot nicer than it was, but I wonder how long it will last,” added River Bluff Drive resident Darlene Steele, who pointed out several uneven ridges left in the finished project.
“I thought they would have picked up the road and laid it back down,” said Jim Anderson who lives next door to Steele. “It was in bad shape and I wonder how long this type of job will last.”
Down the street, Gary Miller said he was in contact with the city’s public works department a couple of times throughout the project about the quality of workmanship.
“I understand the city doesn’t have the funds, but it looks like the city didn’t have the money to do it right,” Miller said. “It looks good now, but I doubt it will last 10 years.”
Whitemyer confirmed that the sealing would not last as long as tearing out the old asphalt, but said the money spent on this project would have only covered a partial block of total road reconstruction.
Whitemyer said residents may not be aware that the contractor used a modern sealing practice for the job to extend the life of the roadway.
“It’s more than a slurry coating,” Whitemyer said. “It’s fiber-seal technology that allows a stronger bonding to the asphalt.”
In the fiber-seal process, strands are cut into 0.5-1 inch slivers and inserted into the mix as it’s placed by the macropaver, providing an immediate and invisible stitching structure.
The fiber increases the structural integrity of the mix without using extra materials or affecting curb and gutter heights and also can be laid in multiple layers to provide the ultimate in crack mitigation and performance.
“The city utilized the fiber-seal product on E Street between North Yosemite and First Avenue as well,” Whitemyer said. “Ideally, the city would want to reconstruct these roadways. However, the city doesn’t receive enough funds to reconstruct every street in town.”
Whitemyer said he appreciated the comments and criticisms from the residents.
“It goes to show Oakdale citizens have high standards,” Whitemyer said.