Asphalt streets are more cost-effective

Thursday, August 23, 2007

By David Pruitt

Another year sees another busy summer for street repairs. But are the streets actually getting fixed?

Every summer, Cape Girardeau spends countless hours and money digging up concrete sections of Lexington Avenue (along with numerous other streets) and replacing them with new sections of concrete. Isn't that just replacing one problem with another? For example, several new sections of concrete have just been poured on Lexington Avenue between David Street and Delwin Street. I honestly cannot tell the difference between the new sections and the ones that were replaced. The new sections are so bumpy and uneven that it appears to be a complete failure and waste of money.

On the other hand, maybe the city has further plans.

Several months ago, the city ground off the surface of Mount Auburn Road between William Street and Bloomfield Road. The street was then resurfaced with asphalt. What a huge difference: quiet, smooth and, more importantly, malleable. If done properly, it should be able to endure expansion and contraction due to our hot summers and cold winters. Concrete cannot. It can only break and become uneven.

Asphalt -- or, more specifically, hot-mix asphalt -- is used on over 95 percent of all streets, roads, highways and interstate highways throughout the country, according to the Asphalt Pavement Alliance. Asphalt surfaces are cheaper to construct and much cheaper to repair and maintain. In fact, using hot-mix asphalt correctly can give you what's called perpetual pavement, which can last up to 50 years or more. The only pavement rehabilitation needed would be to replace only the surface at about 20-year intervals. And, the asphalt surface that is removed is completely recyclable.

As I type this, road crews are doing this very thing on the only asphalt section of Lexington Avenue from Kingshighway to Bellridge Pike. We can only hope that the city is going to do this for all of Lexington Avenue, Independence Street, Perryville Road, Cape Rock Drive and especially Mount Auburn Road. All of those streets are broken and in horrific shape (as are most all of the concrete streets in this town).

As a taxpayer, I am tired of seeing my money wasted with these futile concrete repair efforts. I urge the good taxpayers of Cape Girardeau to talk to their city council member or call the mayor's office. Tell them you want our streets fixed properly. They need to be resurfaced with asphalt and done correctly.

Finally, you shouldn't take my word for it, even though I have a large amount of asphalt information from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance. You should contact the APA at www.asphaltalliance.com. Or, get involved and contact the Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association at (573) 635-6071 or moasphalt@midamerica.net.

Don[']t continue to let your tax dollars be wasted. Right now, the city wants to raise taxes for the city parks. I don't drive on the city parks. Instead, I drive on these broken streets every day.

David Pruitt is a Cape Girardeau resident.

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