Declining funds, a harsh winter and rising costs are causing headaches for local street crews.
The city in 2012 paved just 1.8 miles of its 70 miles of roads, Greensburg Street Department Commissioner Mark Klosterkemper told the Greensburg City Council Monday.
At that pace, each local street will be repaved about every 35 years — but pavement lasts only about 10 to 12 years, depending on traffic.
Klosterkemper said the department is testing alternatives, including micro-surfacing and slurry seals.
Nonetheless, he said, the underlying trends remain: Revenues from the gas tax are declining as people drive more fuel-efficient cars, while costs to repave roads are continuing to increase.
Communities across the nation are dealing with this issue, he said. Some counties are turning some paved roads back into gravel roads because they cannot maintain them.
“Funding is a serious issue … and road conditions will continue to deteriorate,” Klosterkemper wrote in a report to the council.
He also told the council that the harsh winter has led to many potholes and crumbling streets. He is compiling a list of the most severely damaged areas and expected to get some quotes in late May to determine which potholes to fix first.
The amount of ice and snow this winter also has eaten into the department’s supplies of sand and salt, Klosterkemper said.
The lack of a facility to store some of the material is hampering the department’s efforts, he said. This past winter, street crews could not spread sand for a few days because freezing rain had turned the sand solid.
In addition, Klosterkemper said, storing the materials outside violates rules of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Councilman Glenn Tebbe commended the department for its work this winter in clearing the roads of ice and snow and suggested that the city consider purchasing a storage facility.