The city may use $1.4 million left over from streets projects in the past year to pay for preservation work on streets in a handful of subdivisions in the western Highway 84 corridor.

The package, which is not part of the sprawling Better Streets Waco pavement management plan, will be up for city council approval during the council’s July 16 meeting, said Jim Reed, city public works capital improvement program manager. The plans are not set in stone but include work in subdivisions near Highway 84 and the Bosque River.

“We thought it would be better invested in preservation,” Reed said.

Preservation includes preventive measures to seal and protect pavement already in decent condition, extending its life. Mill and overlay or reclamation work, which are considerably more expensive, seek to repair damage. The proposed work would make use of a new product rated to last 10 to 13 years, longer than the seven-to-10-year useful life of other preservation products, Reed said.

While the city has other roads in considerably worse condition, the “worst is first” mentality is not necessarily the best way to approach Waco’s pavement issues, Reed said. His department is aiming to raise Waco’s overall pavement condition index rating to 70. The index runs from 0 to 100, and Waco typically hovers in the 40s, with a current score of 43.

“If we do no work, it drops by about three points a year,” Reed said.

The department estimates it would take about $35 million a year to get Waco to a score of 70.

“We do believe what we’ll see as a result of the year’s efforts and last year’s efforts is a very positive trend,” Reed said.

The $1.4 million preservation package, if finalized and approved, would go out to bid next month, and work would start in September, he said.

“We’ve got a lot of work in the pipeline and we’re working to get out so the contractors can bid on it,” Reed said.

Waco City Council approves conversion of Washington Avenue into 2-way street

A water utility project on Fifth Street from Waco Drive to Interstate 35, and a conversion of Washington Avenue to two-way traffic through downtown are also scheduled for late summer.

Between the city’s ongoing projects and the Texas Department of Transportation’s work on Interstate 35, scheduling projects can become challenging, Reed said.

“It’s a challenge because pavement season is so short,” Reed said. “All those vendors have a short window, from April to October. We do have three asphalt contractors in Waco, so that is an advantage.”

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