Today, a city project to resurface West Washington Street began.
During the next 10 days or so, work crews will complete a mill and overlay project spanning more than half a mile of road, between Garfield Street and the Washington Street-U.S. 41 intersection.
Mill and overlay is a surface treatment that couples the milling of a small amount of asphalt with the overlay of a layer of new material. It is far simpler and much cheaper than reconstructing an entire street, and we are glad the city of Marquette is following a system that allows the government to save money, while keeping city roads in good shape.
The city uses a scale to rate the condition of all municipal streets. By repairing a street surface before it falls too deeply into disrepair, the city can simply commission a mill and overlay project and save huge amounts of money. West Washington Street falls into this category of still-salvageable streets.
According to data provided by city staff, a full road reconstruction effort costs the city about $450,000 per mile, while heavy maintenance - like a mill and overlay project - costs about $275,000.
Based on those numbers, the city should save more than $80,000 by getting to Washington Street now, rather than waiting a few more years.
While the city doesn't have the funds - or the time - to get to all streets before they slip past that point of no return, we applaud their efforts and appreciate them focusing on a main thoroughfare like West Washington Street.
We know construction can be a hassle for drivers, pedestrians and business owners - and those of us in Marquette are seeing more than our fair share of it this summer. But we'll take that to the alternative.
We appreciate the road work and we're glad it's being done in such a timely fashion.