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Selected downtown streets receive new tops this week
by Gary Kent
Aug 03, 2014 | 558 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A rock-spreading machine drops paving stone on a portion of the freshly oiled 100 block of West Cleveland Street Wednesday morning.
A rock-spreading machine drops paving stone on a portion of the freshly oiled 100 block of West Cleveland Street Wednesday morning.
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BEEVILLE – Albert Bridge, director of public works for the city, said a paving crew finished seal coating the final eight blocks of downtown Beeville that the Tax Increment Finance District is financing.

TIF board members voted to use money from their coffers to have the cross streets in downtown seal coated.

Bridge said half of those blocks were seal coated last year, but the city decided to delay the paving work for eight blocks until this year because work had been scheduled to redo sidewalks in downtown.

A contractor completed that project months ago.

Bridge said he expected to have all eight of those blocks finished by the end of the day Wednesday.

Then the seal coating crew would proceed to the northwest corner of the city to begin seal coating 76 and a half blocks of mostly residential streets.

Seal coating is a maintenance effort that state, county and city street maintenance departments attempt to provide throughout the country. The work extends the life of asphalt pavement by filling any cracks that would allow water to seep into the base of the roadbed.

The process involves spreading hot oil onto the existing asphalt pavement and then scattering a layer of rock on top of the oil.

Beeville had fallen behind on seal coating city streets for several years until the City Council called a special election six years ago to give voters the option of designating a portion of the half-cent, 4B sales tax money for a street maintenance fund.

Voters authorized the city to set aside one-eighth of the 1 percent 4B sales tax for the fund.

That comes out to a little more than $200,000 a year.

The 1 percent 4B sales tax was authorized by the Legislature in 1979 to give municipalities the ability to pool money for economic development purposes.

The law allows cities to designate a portion of that tax for infrastructure improvements if city voters approve it.

Voters must reapprove that every four years. City residents have re-approved the use of that money for the maintenance fund two years ago.

Money in the street maintenance fund can be used in several ways, including maintenance and repair of city streets and purchasing equipment for that purpose.

Bridge said he has someone from every city department which he oversees working on this year’s seal coating effort.

The hot, summer months are the best time for seal coating, Bridge said. The hotter temperatures keep the hot oil spread on the streets from solidifying before the paving rock can be spread over it.

The oil emulsion seals cracks that form in the existing asphalt on streets and the new rock keeps the surface upon which vehicle tires drive from contacting the oil.

The city’s annual list of streets to be seal coated is approved annually by the council.

Residents who live on blocks scheduled to be seal coated are contacted and asked to have any vehicles they park at the curb moved on the day the work is to be done.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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