Hobart breaks down future road work
By Ben Rodgers
HOBART – The Village of Hobart is planning to spend $4 million in projects over the next five years and $1.8 million of that will be for road work.
Village Administrator Aaron Kramer presented the village board with the 2020-24 capital budget that outlines what streets will be repaired and when.
“We’ve been very aggressive the past two years and then we’re going to take a two year dip in our road repair expense,” Kramer said. “The main reason is we got to catch up on some equipment replacement needs and that takes up a majority of capital spending for 2020-21. Then we ramp back up and try to replace and repair what you would call an average number of road feet per year, if not a little bit more starting in 2022.”
The projects come to just under 7 miles of road work, or resurfacing, in five years.
Next year’s roads are: Mapleview Court (from North Overland to the terminus), 2,640 feet; Dream Lake Road (from Florist to Florist), 3,065 feet; Acorn Court (North Overland to terminus), 900 feet; and Concord Way (County Trunk FF to Lexington Court), 845 feet.
The anticipated project cost is $337,814.
“The Public Works Department provides me a master list of roads in early to mid summer,” Kramer said. “The roads are ranked based on the condition of the surface, traffic counts, age of the road surface and whether or not the road is a main thoroughfare, a street that collects traffic from other areas of the village, or just a local road. There is a rating system that puts in all that criteria and that allows me to compare one road to another. It’s not a perfect formula, but it’s probably the best method we could come up with.”
The next year, 2021, is the lightest of the five in terms of road work.
It includes Oakridge Drive (North Overland to terminus), 1,100 feet; Camelot Court (Hillcrest to terminus), 111 feet; and Inverary Court (North Overland to terminus), 550 feet.
The anticipated project cost is $79,133.
“In 2021, we got a huge sanitary sewer lining project which simply cannot be put off and kicked down the road any further, and we have some large public works and fire department purchases that I would have preferred to stretch over a couple of years,” Kramer said. “But a number of these items are you buy them in one year and they come with a large price tag. There’s just no other way around it.”
In 2022, one project will cover the entire anticipated amount of $367,377, Cyrus (Bridge to village border), 6,706 feet.
“We’ve been trying to pick off, if you will, some of the smaller stretches of bad roadway in Hobart,” Kramer said. “Unfortunately that means the list is starting to get populated with larger, more extensive major roads that need to be repaired.”
The year with the highest total amount of road work is 2023 with an anticipated total of $601,706.
Roads to be done that year include: Merrimac Way (Concord to terminus), 845 feet; Trout Creek (Hidden Trail to County Trunk J), 5,400 feet; Sunlite Drive (Overland to Centennial Centre), 3,691 feet; and Geneva (County Trunk U to 90-degree turn), 1,950 feet.
“The further out you get in the plan, and it is truly more of a plan than a budget, the uncertainty of timing and costs becomes greater,” Kramer said. “I don’t know what the cost of asphalt is going to be in 2023. We could have a shock to the economic system and prices could go through the roof on some of the items we need to repair and replace roads. The thing to remember is we look at this every year. I can assure you the capital budget of 2023 is going to look different than the capital projects of 2023 that we are proposing today. But, the key is you want a plan, or a roadmap of what the priorities are going to be.”
Finally, 2024, will bring two road projects at a cost of $470,855. They include South Overland (County Trunk EE to Nathan), 5,280 feet; and Conrad Drive (Ravine to terminus), 3,380 feet.
“There’s other parts than just replacing the surface of the road,” Kramer said. “At the same time we’re trying to repair curb and gutter. If there’s a culvert, we’re reviewing those to see if they need to be replaced. We’re also trying to improve water flow in the ditches. When you look at the total cost of the road, it’s not just the cost of pavement, but that’s part of the puzzle.”
The culvert replacement is paid mainly by the storm water fund, which is currently financing a larger project that was launched this summer, and will eventually replace hundreds of storm water inlets in Hobart.
In the document, Kramer also outlined projects for 2025-2029.
The largest ones for each of those years is 2025, North Pine Tree (Sunbeam to Trout Creek), 4,698 feet, $301,678; 2026, South Overland (Nathan to Luther) 5,280 feet, $253,073; 2027, South Overland (County Trunk EE to Fernando), 5,280 feet, $253,073; 2028, South Overland (West Adam to Florist), 5,280 feet, $253,073; and 2029, South Overland (Florist to State Highway 172), 3,960 feet, $189,805.
“I would view this more as sort of a placeholder list,” Kramer said. “We think we’re going to be able to do these streets, maybe the year before, maybe the year after, maybe we’ll have extra money in the general budget one year in a fund we didn’t plan, but you want to have a list.”
Many of the roads on this list will be nearing 30 years of age when the surface is replaced, which is good because the village has grown and with that growth comes a change in traffic patterns, he said.
“From what I’ve been told and what I’ve seen, 30 years is starting to push it,” Kramer said. “You have to remember some of these roads were built when this was a smaller township. A lot of these roads were built for light traffic or small farm equipment. Now we’re talking about several hundreds, if not thousands, of cars a day and heavier trucks. Those factors shorten the lives of roads.”
Finally, Kramer said the road work will be completed without borrowing.
“We’re trying to do all of this with cash on hand,” he said. “We’re not proposing to borrow money to do these projects. We’re not proposing to assess costs back to the adjacent property owners. With all of what you hear in other communities, and the state as well for its transportation issues, I think Hobart is in a pretty good place. Would I like to do more? Of course. But there’s only so much money to go around, and we don’t want to put any more on the credit card.”