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Some want resurfacing project to move faster despite city's efforts to save streets

El Paso streets

A majority of El Paso's streets are a pain in the neck and a shock for many people.

"Sort of good, sort of bad," Isaac Santana of East El Paso said.

“There’s many holes in the roads,” Nicole Terrazas of East El Paso said.

“Here on Montana, we can see that the roads are really bad,” Juniar Chavez of Central El Paso said.

It's a problem the city has spent a lot of time and money struggling to fix.

"I think they should be fixed up,” Ramon Marquez who lives in West El Paso said.

"There's over 5,800 streets in El Paso,” Interim Dir. of Streets and Maintenance Richard Bristol said.

The City of El Paso set aside $210 million for the 2012 Street CIP Program for reconstruction and resurfacing of streets.

"So, $48 million was set up in 2012 specifically for street resurfacing,"

There were 412 streets on the city's to-do list. Years later, Bristol says the city has fixed a good number of them.

"At the present day, we have completed or have under contract 262,” Bristol said.

But there's a lot more to go. There are still 121 streets to get fixed from 2012.

"It's a moving target,” Harold Kutz, engineering manager for City of El Paso Streets and Maintenance, said.

Kutz is one of the engineering managers who oversee the resurfacing of El Paso's streets.

It’s not a changing list but, Kutz said there were a few changes to the city’s to-do list.

"There were some streets that had already been done because they became projects. There were some streets that were done because they became an emergency pavement project because of a broken water line,” Kutz said. “There were some streets that were erroneously identified. It was amended and changed because of various reasons."

Kutz says some streets were taken off the list because they were wrongly listed for resurfacing.

More than 70 percent of them are in Central and Northeast El Paso.

Martha Aguilar runs Las Solita Rosa on Octavia and Nevada in Central El Paso. She says the resurfacing work right outside her door will be worth the inconvenience.

""I think it's a good thing for the community. It's good for the people to use who use wheelchairs or can't walk,” Aguilar said.

Gilbert Rodelas and his father's auto shop SGT's Customs is on Taylor Avenue off Dyer Streetwhich is on the list.

"It'd be good to get it done and get it fixed so we'd have a nice proper street so it looks better for the businesses,” Rodelas said.

But the pros may not outweigh the cons.

"It's going to cause havoc because this is our only way into the business and our only way out,” Rodelas said.

He thinks all of the streets on the city's list should have been finished by now.

People may think repaving a street may only take a day or two. But, actually getting all of this done may take longer than you think.

"It would be very simple to just come in do the resurfacing of the road and just ignore everything else. But we are not able to do that,” Kutz said. “We have to take care of the curb and gutters that are dysfunctional. Because they also serve part of the road structure."

Bristol says the way to tackle the street situation is by adapting.

"We are also going to be doing a pavement assessment,” Bristol said.

This unique way of grading a street's condition similar to the way Google updates its maps.

"They drive through and it has many cameras on it. It captures the distresses and the cracks and the conditions of the streets,” Bristol said. “It scores each individual street based on detrition conditions. It gives it a score between 1 to 100."

The data cuts out emotion to apply logic to the streets.

"Of course, the street in front of my house is more important than anyone else's. But, it’s hard to apply that equally across a city,” Kutz said. “So, basing it on the need and the data, it's a cleaner process."

"On the east side, I can tell you we are spending a lot of time doing our patching work on George Dieter. And on the west side, we are spending a lot of time on Resler,” Bristol said.

Kutz says having more than one resurfacing contract happening allows the city to take on more streets.

The city is also prioritizing rundown roads like Yarbrough, Railroad, Hawkins, Viscount, McCombs, and Rojas.

Some El Pasoans are all for it.

"That's a perfect idea,” Terrazas said. “They'll be more people coming and driving around more comfortable and less accidents."

"That'll be a good option to do for the community,” Chavez said.

"Anything that is good for the city, anything that's good for us, our cars,” Marquez said.

The process to make sure all of the streets are repaved, however, could take more time.

"It's not something that can be dealt with in a one-year or two-year period,” Bristol said.

It will also cost more money.

People, like Rodelas, said, they just want it done.

"It needs to be fixed. We need it,” Rodelas said. “We need to make this city look a lot nicer."

The city's goal is to get all of the 2012 streets and those other sections of major roadways completed by 2020. The resurfacing contract for the remaining 121 streets is expected to be put up for bid by November 22nd.

Kutz said people can file a service request to have their street resurfaced. Although, if there isn’t enough money in the city’s resurfacing budget, it will be addressed at a later time.


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