2017-11-01 / Front Page

Potholes signal larger problem


There’s a section of Old Durham Road between Shady Hill Baptist Church and Commerce Drive that is sometimes so full of potholes that drivers complain they have to drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid them.

Citizens have called city council members to complain and last week Roxboro Public Works Director Andy Oakley delivered a sobering report on the problem.

“Old Durham Road is repaired multiple times each year by the City Public Works Department,” he said, “but the poor soil and underlying concrete cause these repairs to be ineffective. To repair the road adequately, we would need to demolish the existing subgrade for a large section of the roadway and replace it,” Oakley said.

Oakley said city staff have gotten estimates for that work which have come in around $452,000.

That is a hefty price tag for one paving project considering the city only budgets $175,000 per year for all its paving projects.

The problem is there is a concrete road under the asphalt, and after constant use, the asphalt tends to move or slip on the concrete and eventually crumble. City crews make repairs but can’t keep up.

“Those repairs have just become ineffectual,” Oakley said. “It’s like putting a Band-Aid on, but the Band-Aid isn’t sticking anymore.”

To fix the road properly would involve demolishing and removing the entire three feet of concrete subgrade, which was originally built on top of a swamp, and replacing it, Oakley said.

Oakley said the expense of the project makes it a difficult issue, but he would bring it back for next year’s budget deliberations to see if anything can be done.

Oakley also addressed work needed on the Long Memorial Church parking lot in Uptown Roxboro, the only city parking lot still in need of resurfacing.

He said he got an estimate to do the work from Asphalt Experts and it was for $84,600, but Powell Bill funds could not be used for this project because they are earmarked for highways.

He said the pavement in the parking lot is still in pretty good shape, although the bases of the meters need replacing and there are other items that need addressing.

“We will bring it to budget to see what can be done,” he said.

He also mentioned that some city streets have been resurfaced so many times than adding more asphalt is not an option.

“We are at the point now where we are going to have to start milling almost every street that we resurface,” he said.

“Like we did this year, and that really doubles the cost of resurfacing. It’s something we are going to have to look at long term, devoting money to resurfacing, or living with some poor quality roads and I don’t think anyone wants to do that.”

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