Thanks to a half-cent sales tax passed by the City of Alexander City in 2014 and renewed in November 2018, 11 city streets are receiving a smoother surface for drivers.
The Alexander City Road Improvement Program (ACRIP) is what the council passed in 2014 and with the help of software, city streets are getting paved.
“It’s a source of funding we didn’t have before,” Alexander City public works director Gerard Brewer said. “Until this, we didn’t do any real paving.”
Besides some patching, Brewer said the last project before ACRIP was in 2012.
“We did about $600,000 in surface treatments,” Brewer said. “We couldn’t really do much of anything.”
The ACRIP half-cent sales tax brings in about $1.2 million a year according to Brewer, but not all of it goes directly to paving.
“About $800,000 to $1million goes to maintenance and rehabilitation,” Brewer said. “Another $100,000 goes to strip patching and $100,000 to big patches. Those are places are where there will likely be major paving in few years.”
Brewer said the department also put some money aside for striping.
“We have always gotten calls about striping,” Brewer said. “We put about $50,000 aside for striping.”
Roads selected for paving are not just picked out of a hat. Brewer said a computer program helps with selections.
“We use Micropaver,” Brewer said. “An inspector inputs some data and the program tells us what roads to pave. It helps us figure out where we will get the most bang for the buck.”
Paving started last week and will be completed within a month Brewer said. Roads to be paved under ACRIP this year are 6th Street, Adamson Street, Airport Drive, Beach Street, Calhoun Street, City Cemetery Road, Eastwood Drive, Hallian Road, Maple Street, Rebecca Avenue and Sanders Road.
Crews have already put fresh asphalt down on Maple Street and are close to putting asphalt on 6th Street but the striping will come a little later.
“The asphalt has to be down for at least two weeks before striping,” Brewer said. “If you put the striping down before the asphalt can cure a little, the paint goes away.”
Brewer said more funds could be used for streets but the department is doing the best it can.
“We are still underfunded,” he said. “You have to maximize what you have.”