Street and road repaving
Is my street being repaved?
Some city streets can be a rough ride, especially after a long winter of freezing and thawing — or a summer of heat and heavy traffic. For the record, the city is responsible for deciding which streets are repaved and when. But it's the state that sets the budget for repaving based on the amount of each city's roadways. Hampton gets about $5.5 million a year. And while that may sound like a lot, it doesn't quite allow for repaving even 10 percent of city streets each year.
Hampton crews look at the roads and consultants do scientific measurements to determine which streets are most in need of resurfacing. Heavily traveled roads need more frequent attention than neighborhood streets. Is your street scheduled for repaving? Visit Streets to find out. You can help us by calling 757-727-8311 when you encounter problems or potholes while driving.
Q: How many miles of road are there in Hampton?
A: Hampton has more than 1,614 lane miles of paved roads (a lane mile equals one mile of one-lane road, in one direction. Fort Monroe, for example, has about 22.6 paved lane miles.
Q: What is the average cost to resurface a street?
A: It costs about $65,000 per lane mile to mill, resurface and apply pavement markings to a typical arterial street. For example, Mercury Boulevard, one of the city's most trafficked roads, has 121.2 lane miles, and it would cost $10 million-$12 million to repave Mercury from end to end. That's about two years' worth of state funds.
Q: How does the city decide which streets are repaved each year?
A: Streets are chosen based on several factors, including cracking, the roughness or smoothness of the roadway, and by considering how much traffic they see daily. City engineers look at the condition of a road over a period of time using sophisticated measuring equipment and by making in-person visits.
Q: Why can't you use city tax dollars to repave more roads?
A: Repaving is primarily a state responsibility. In counties, VDOT maintains roads. But the state gives cities an allocation to maintain their streets and roads. Let's say Hampton kicked in another $3 million for repaving annually. That would cover about 46 lane miles — or 23 miles of a two-lane neighborhood street. That's the equivalent of adding a neighborhood the size of Michaels Woods to the repaving budget each year. And it would equate to an increase in the property tax of about 3 cents per hundred dollars of value.
Q: Is my street going to be repaved?
A: Every year, Public Works creates a new repaving schedule that is organized according to Hampton's neighborhood districts. If your street isn't on the schedule — check the repaving schedule or go to hampton.gov/streets for more info — the odds are that it isn't one of the streets most in need of repaving. But you can always report a problem or suggest that a street be considered by calling the Citizen Contact Center at 3-1-1 or 757-727-8311.
Q: What streets aren't maintained by the city?
A: Some are private streets, such as in the Grandview area. The city does not maintain those. If private roads are built or upgraded to the city's standards, the city can assume ownership and maintain them after that point. Some other examples: parking lots for businesses are not maintained by the city. Public, city-owned lots are maintained. The state maintains the interstates and ramps, and railroad crossings are maintained by the railroads.
Q: Does the city do its own work on roads?
A: Hampton primarily uses contractors. And because we need "good" weather, there is a limited amount of time to do as much work as possible. Using contractors for repaving is more efficient for taxpayers. However, we use our own staff for filling potholes and some other work.
Q: My street is OK, but potholes are a problem. What is the city doing about them?
A: Potholes are a year-round problem for Hampton and other communities in the area, especially in the spring and early summer after the winter thaw. That's because potholes are often created by water that gets under the surface, freezes and then expands. Hampton sends workers out five days a week to look for and repair potholes. The money for pothole repair comes from the state's Urban Maintenance Fund. If you call 3-1-1 to report a pothole, make sure you include the size, depth and location of the pothole.
Q: Where does the money for road maintenance come from?
A: Local tax revenue pays for some of the costs, but state and federal dollars are key. Hampton's Streets and Roads budget for fiscal year 2017-18 was $2,354,061, divided almost evenly between personnel services and operating expenses. Most major road projects — the recent expansion of Saunders Road, for example — are financed with a combination of state, federal and city funds.
Posted Sept. 19, 2018