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(MIAMI, OK.) With over 100 miles of streets, Miami faces the same funding challenge most cities face in repair and replacement work.
The City of Miami completed $583,758 in street projects for fiscal year 2021-2022. The City has budgeted a little over $3.2 million for fiscal year 2022-2023. Of this total, $822,117 is budgeted for the Street Department’s general operations; $2,035,889 is ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds, and this fiscal year the council approved using $371,295 to fund road repair from the .65% sales tax Street & Stadium Fund.
“Streets have been one of the biggest challenges facing the City of Miami for many years,” Miami City Manager Bo Reese said. “We are working within the budget we have to complete as much street work as possible and continue to seek funding sources.”
To understand how Miami’s streets are maintained and rebuilt, it’s important to know how projects are budgeted and prioritized. A study was conducted by the GSI engineering firm using core drilling samples to determine condition and composition of each city street. Factors considered in prioritizing street projects included street condition, low traffic versus high traffic, and types of traffic such as heavy trucks using the streets.
The City of Miami’s Streets Department, managed by Robert Barger, under the direction of Public Utilities Director Tyler Cline, is comprised of six employees. This crew is responsible for maintaining, repairing, and rebuilding Miami’s 112 plus miles of streets in city limits.
Highways and interstates are the responsibility of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), and county roads are the responsibility of the Ottawa County Commissioners by district.
According to Cline, it costs an estimated $1 million per mile to replace a city street. With a limited budget to fix all issues, the City of Miami has created a prioritized list of streets to fit the budget for streets that are designated for either reconstruction or mill and overlay.
Of the City’s streets Barger and Cline estimate 40 percent of Miami’s streets are in need of major repair or replacement, 30 percent are in need of crack and seal work, and 30 percent have been recently repaired or replaced and are in good condition. There are many factors in what causes a street’s condition to deteriorate such as weather conditions, traffic loads, base condition dependent on material used, and proper stormwater drainage.
The City Streets crew completes the base work and progress is then dependent on the availability of asphalt and concrete contractors to finish and complete the street work.
“Our city crews do a lot of prep work getting roads ready for surfacing. Often this is done in the fall and winter, then they have to wait for warmer weather to finish with asphalt or concrete,” Reese said, “To citizens it feels like we are starting and stopping projects before completion. What I would like everyone to understand is this is the most cost-effective way to run the projects. Stretching the citizens tax dollar is always a top priority. When the warmer weather finally arrives, it feels like a sprint to get as much done as possible during the warmer months.”
Reese said the asphalt plants open in the spring with only a few months left in the fiscal year ending in June. Then they stay open only a few months after the beginning of the new fiscal year starting in July, adding a level of complexity to project planning and the budgeting of projects.
The history of streets in Miami is a key component to the present conditions being dealt with by the City crews and contractors today. Some of the streets in the City were built years and years ago to meet past standards that do not meet today’s current basic standards, such as being built without a proper level of base rock, making deterioration or rebuild costs an issue to contend with now. Vehicles, and trucks can be much heavier now. Some of the deterioration is due simply to age and wear and tear, especially in high traffic areas.
Potholes are major annoyances and serious issues usually occurring when cracks develop on the surface and water infiltrates into the base layers and the asphalt breaks down. Potholes are analyzed, and if at issue, infrastructure locates must be done, then the pothole is filled with rock and has to settle before cold mix asphalt can be applied or the Durapatch machine is used to fill and cover the hole.
Another factor in street repair is what lies below. The City’s aging infrastructure can cause issues with street projects. Underlying water and sewer lines are often in need of repair or replacement before street work can begin to avoid having to tear into newly completed street work. These projects must be coordinated and carefully planned to avoid such situations.
“That is why it does not always appear the worst roads are being addressed. Sometimes the underlying infrastructure is a driving factor that determines priority,” Reese said.
According to Barger, projects completed in fiscal year 2021/2022 were three blocks of 12th NE Street and the 1800 block of Lincoln Boulevard.
A five-year Street Plan for 2022 includes 33 projects with an estimated cost of $16,176,165 to complete. The projects consist of rebuilds and overlay for 10th Ave. NW from M Street to O Street NW, 12th Ave. NE from Main Street to C Street has been completed, 20th Ave. NE from Main to D Street NE, 24th Ave. SW from E Street to 24th SW, 5th Ave. NW from H Street to M Street NW,7th Ave. NW from M Street to O Street NW, A Street NE from 13th to 18th is completed, B Street NE is in process from the 1900 block to 20th, B Street NW from 18th to 22nd, B Street SE from 3rd to 4th Street, Bay Street NE from 4th to Brookside, C Street NE from 12th to 13th is completed, C Street NE from Central to 1st Street, C Street SE from 3rd to 4th,D Street NE ( Truck Route) from Central to BJ Tunnel, D Street NW ( Truck Route) from 4th to 9th, E Street NE from 11th to 15th to O Street, E Street NW from Wea Drive to 9th Street, E Street SW from 20th to 24th Street, E BJ Tunnel (Truck Route) from Main to D Street, F Street NE from 1st to 2nd, G Street NE is in progress from 2nd to 4th Street, H Street NE from 2nd to 3rd, Lincoln Blvd is in progress from Elm to Rockdale Blvd., M Street NW from 7th to 8th, McKinley Blvd. from Rockdale Blvd. to Garfield, and Garfield to Elm and Rockdale to Grant Park Way, Miami Blvd. NE and NW from A to C Street , Miami Blvd. and Yale Ave from McKinley to Garfield.
The City of Miami historically from 2010 to 2022 has spent from half a million to a high of $4.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to 2012. From 2010 to 2022 the City of Miami has expended a total of $21,170, 834 on street projects.
Funding for streets comes from several sources: a gas tax, a vehicle license tax, MSUA transfers, and grants. Breaking down the overall total from 2010 to present, the gas tax provided $300,289.38, the vehicle license tax provided $1,167,086.07, MSUA transfers $7,191,766.20, and in the years 2010 to 2011 a bond for 116 Street for the Stadium (.65 sales tax) of $11,995,064.57, grants provided $136,155.14, additional MSUA transfers of $315,000, and $1,817,948.08 from the City’s General Fund capital improvement plan, for the total of $22,923,309.44. Of this total $1,752,475.07 was used to purchase street repair equipment.
“Streets in good, drivable condition are important and vital to our residents and business owners and we will continue to work toward improving or replacing as many miles as possible each year, “Reese said.