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SR planning road upgrades
SR planning road upgrades

Lyle Thomas, St. Robert's director of public works, explains his proposals to upgrade two of the city's worst roads.
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (Nov. 29, 2008) — St. Robert’s last two remaining chip-and-seal roads could receive an upgrade next year, based on a request made Tuesday evening by Lyle Thomas, the city's director of public works, to the city’s Public Works Committee.

Those two roads are Hardin and Harlan, and both are in poor condition.

“Basically the more money we can put into patching, asphalt and sealing the roads, the better off we are,” Thomas told committee members.

Getting a cost estimate for asphalt from asphalt companies is impossible today, Thomas said, since it’s a petroleum-based product.

“The market it so volatile now that they just have no clue,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the two roads are in poor condition for many reasons, some of them beyond the city’s control, but laying down a better road surface with a stronger road bed under the surface will help.

“Part of the problem is the construction going on out in the county with big construction trucks. The road’s not built for that weight on it,” Thomas said.

Alderman Bill Shaw asked about J.H. Williamson drive, which runs down a steep hill from Old Route 66 to the St. Robert Community Center and the St. Robert trash transfer station.

Thomas agreed there’s a problem.

“That’s dangerous, and somebody is going to get T-boned someday by a trash truck,” Thomas said. “That would be nice but a lot of it is going to boil down to the cost of asphalt.”

Thomas recommended having a supply of culverts on hand to cut down on fuel and transportation costs to pick up culverts on an as-needed basis.

“We’ve been using a lot more culvert lately trying to solve some of our water flow problems,” Thomas said. “If we did have a stockpile on hand it would cut down on a lot of our fuel.”

That surprised Alderman Ed Spotts.

“So you don’t really have any stock of pipe on hand?” Spotts asked.

“Very little,” Thomas replied.

Water and sewer workers said they’d also like to have spare pumps on hand for their work and would like to use the city’s new sewer camera to identify areas where pipes need to be fixed.

City Administrator Norman Herren said it may be possible to solve some of the city’s cost problems by purchasing equipment that will help lay down asphalt roads and explained what that would require.

“Right now we don’t have the equipment at all,” Herren said. “This is a machine that will actually spread it so we can put a roller on it.”

Spotts, who learned earlier in the meeting that St. Robert administrators expect a zero-growth budget for 2009, worried that the additional purchases would cause serious problems.

“Is this is dream list or something you’re realistically working on?” Spotts asked. “Everything seems to be going up. Where’s the money coming from?”

Thomas said he understood the financial pressures but said the funding request is serious.

“If this was just a straight-up wish list we wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of figuring out how much each pipe cost and the fittings and all that,” Thomas said.

Maintenance will be an ongoing need for the city in the future, Herren said, and must be planned for the regular budget.

“The city has grown so quickly over the last several years that we’ve spent most of our time building new structures rather than going back and taking care of old,” Herren said.

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