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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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News Release: Transportation Director Leah Treat says Back to Basics street maintenance program shows great progress to 100 miles goal

(November 25, 2013) – Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat today announced that the City preserved 76 miles of streets from July through October, well on its way to meet the mayor’s goal of 100 lane miles paved this fiscal year.

“Our crews are working hard and making great progress,” said Treat, who started as transportation director in July, after a national search. “We’re using a new technique to preserve our streets as effectively and efficiently as possible. Preventive maintenance extends the life of our neighborhood streets and saves money by preventing the need to rebuild them later.”

Since the start of the fiscal year on July 1, city crews have preserved 53 lane miles of streets using fog seal, a cost-saving technique that the city began using this year on less trafficked neighborhood streets. In addition to fog sealing, since July 1 crews have also paved 23 lane miles, many on arterial streets that carry higher traffic loads.

City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the transportation bureau, said he and the mayor set the goal of 100 miles of preventive maintenance for the fiscal year ending June 30.

“Preventive maintenance is a smart way to invest our tax dollars,” Novick said. “The mayor and I have set a goal of 100 miles of street maintenance this year, through the end of June and I’m glad the maintenance crews are well on their way to meeting that goal.”

Using fog seal for preventive maintenance on local streets that are in fairly good shape costs $7,500 a lane mile.  On streets in worse shape and that handle higher traffic such as arterial streets, grinding and paving is more appropriate and costs about $150,000 per lane mile.

A lane mile is the equivalent of one 12-foot wide lane, one mile long.   Both paving and fog sealing techniques will prevent potholes and also prevent deterioration to the point where a street needs to be completely rebuilt, a costly proposition at up to $3 million per lane mile.

To meet the 100 miles of paving goal this fiscal year, transportation maintenance crews will grind some streets during the cold winter months. But with rain and low temperatures, paving on some of those streets may not be feasible until weeks later. So the public may see some streets in rougher condition before the final paving work is completed.

Learn more about the bureau’s Back to Basics paving program, including maps showing which streets are planned for maintenance:  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/451483

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