Paving Policy Update Planned

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council is considering an update to its aged paving policy, written in 2005, that officials hope will add flexibility.

“It is outdated. It hasn’t been updated in eight years and I think there’s some room for improvement,” Acting-Public Works Director Amanda Pollack told the council.

Areas that need to be addressed include the role of public works in managing paving, the extent of repaving required for any project and the tightening of definitions and language in the document, according to Pollack.

“I’m very excited to be talking to you about this today,” she said. “There’s been a lot of effort and a lot of work from staff on this.”

One of the biggest changes in the new policy would be a reduction in the amount of re-paving necessary after certain projects. Under the current plan, any time asphalt is affected by construction the full-width of the roadway must be re-paved. Pollack recommended lessening that so only the lane that is impacted has to be re-paved.

“We also recommend replacing the full-width road replacement requirements with a requirement that re-paving extend to the edge of the nearest travel lane or parking lane,” she said.

When lanes are not marked, Pollack added that a minimum width of eight feet is the assumption. Along a similar line, alterations were made in the new policy to clarify how gutter and curb construction will impact re-paving.

“We also wanted to specifically address the re-paving requirements associated with curb and gutter construction,” said Pollack. “That wasn’t clearly defined before.”

Gutter construction re-paving will extend the width of the lane, unless the project doesn’t disturb the asphalt at all. In that case, no re-paving would be necessary.

Another big change in the new policy would be extended authority to the public works director to make judgment calls under unique circumstances.

“I do feel like that’s a positive. The previous paving policy gave the director no leeway,” said Pollack. “There was no ability for them to look at a specific circumstance and make a professional decision. I do think that’s an important part.”

Councilman Tim Spies asked that some consideration be given to keeping an eye on re-paving done by outside agencies.

“I would recommend that, once a patch is put in place, that there be a periodic re-assessment and that it be documented and if it is inadequate that the utility come back and fix it,” he said.

Pollack pointed out there is a warranty period in the new policy and that such a period even exists in the current policy.

Councilwoman Laura Mitchell had two concerns. The first was that the new policy would eliminate a deadline for the completion of any paving project, which is 30 days in the current policy.

Pollack said if the council favors having a limit written into the policy that it consider more than 30 days.

Mitchell’s other worry was with a policy change that would prevent freshly paved roads from being cut for five years.

“The way this is written, it effectively puts a five-year building moratorium on any street that’s just been paved,” she said.

That is not the intent, replied Pollack, and one of the reasons that the new policy would grant the public works director the option to make a professional call for individual cases.

The council voted to bring the new paving policy back for their next legislative session July 8 after the language has been tweaked and the council’s concerns considered.

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