Street Repairs

A City of Stillwater Critical Need:
Stillwater Streets


The City of Stillwater builds and maintains local streets by focusing on three priorities:

  • Safety

  • Service – address functionality, capacity, movement of traffic and people

  • Condition – optimize useful life and maintain acceptable quality

The City of Stillwater maintains more than 600 lane miles in its network of streets, sidewalks and bicycle paths. Streets are divided into three categories: arterials (20%), collectors (15%) and local or residential streets (65%). Arterials are major thoroughfares such as McElroy and Hall of Fame. Collectors feed into arterials.

The City budgets $4 million a year to repair and upgrade its vast network of streets. That work is prioritized through Stillwater’s Pavement Management Program. The program evaluates current infrastructure and balances needs, available budget and pavement life to determine maintenance and repair projects.

To show the magnitude of the ongoing challenge to maintain streets, based on current spending, it would take 67 years to replace the City’s streets to a 30-year standard.

The Pavement Management Program is a recurring five-year plan that is approved by the Stillwater City Council each year. The Council approved the current plan and nearly $4 million for Fiscal Year 2022 (the fiscal year begins July 1) in April. That funding comes from the Transportation Improvement Fund, also called the Transportation Sales Tax Fund.


Did you know?

  • At more than 600 lane miles, the City maintains streets that are roughly the distance from Stillwater to Albuquerque.

  • A one-lane mile of street costs approximately $1 million.

  • The price tag to address the City’s current, pressing street needs is $68.5 million.


Funding

Street projects, including street maintenance, are funded from a variety of sources, including a dedicated half-cent sales tax, a portion of the state’s gasoline tax, general fund and development transportation fees. It can also utilize general obligation (GO) bonds.

The City’s $4 million budget for streets comes from a half-cent Transportation Sales Tax that was approved by voters in 2001 and has been reauthorized twice. The current expiration date is 2026. The Transportation Sales Tax has been vital to the City’s ability to improve streets.

Many cities choose to collect transportation funds through sales tax because approximately a third of the money is paid by non-residents – people who drive into the community to work, visit and shop.

Street projects make up a majority of the Transportation Improvement Fund’s expenditures and include improvements to existing arterial, collector and residential streets, sidewalks, alleyways and guardrails.


Prioritizing Projects

The City’s street development and maintenance is a product of three integrated plans that help prioritize and efficiently carry out Stillwater’s transportation needs and goals. The plans are:

The Pavement Management Program identifies appropriate maintenance strategies for each street based on condition and use. It is primarily funded by the half-cent sales tax, which when possible matches Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) funding.

To help guide the City’s efforts, an outside firm evaluates every street in the community every five years. The evaluation looks at the amount of cracking, rutting, roughness and structural strength of the pavements.  Streets are given a numerical rating from 0-100 that is used to determine what type of maintenance technique is used to extend the life of the pavement. 

Values are assigned to streets based on a pavement condition index that looks at pavement condition – failed, very poor, poor, fair, good, excellent – and pavement age.

The goal is to keep pavement in fair to excellent condition for as long as possible through resurfacing and other upgrades. Once pavement drops below fair condition, ride quality and costs to repair quickly accelerate with increased age.

In 2017, the evaluation considered the structural condition in the rating for the first time. It showed in general that Stillwater streets are structurally sound but the City has some of the roughest streets among the evaluator’s clients. Fortunately, surface roughness can be upgraded for less than repairing structural deficiencies. This allows the City to use various techniques to maximize its funds.


Pavement Maintenance Strategies

The City utilizes four strategies to maintain and upgrade Stillwater’s streets:

  • Preventative maintenance -- application of crack seals, thin non-structural surface overlays and other treatments used to maintain and extend the service life of pavement.

  • Rehabilitation strategies -- application of structural pavement overlays, full depth patching and other treatments to repair and extend the service life of pavement.

  • Reconstruction strategies -- replacement of existing pavement with new pavement and base material on streets that renews the service life of pavement.

  • Deferred maintenance -- includes rehabilitation and reconstruction strategies on localized areas such as high severity potholes, failed concrete panels or significant segments of failed pavements to extend the service life.


Repair Techniques

Stillwater uses an assortment of proven techniques to maintain and repair its streets:

  • Thin Surface Asphalt - A thin asphalt overlay is a dense graded asphalt mixture placed at a thickness of less than 1½ inches using conventional asphalt production and placement operations.

  • Overlay Asphalt Concrete - Asphalt overlay is a paving method of applying a new layer of asphalt to a deteriorating surface. Rather than tearing up an old asphalt surface entirely, an asphalt overlay project uses existing layers as a base.

  • Whitetopping - Whitetopping is the covering of an existing asphalt pavement with a layer of Portland cement concrete. Whitetopping is suitable for asphalt pavement with little deterioration. If the pavement is badly damaged, it should be completely removed and a new concrete pavement should be installed.

  • HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt) - Hot mix asphalt (HMA) is known by many different names, such as hot mix, asphalt concrete, asphalt or blacktop. It is a combination of stone, sand or gravel bound together by asphalt cement. After it is mixed at a high temperature, laid and compacted, the result is an improved driving surface. Additives, such as recycled tires or latex, are sometimes included for increased durability. Other additives may be mixed in to reduce temperature and fumes. Since hot mix asphalt is a product of crude oil, the thickness and other qualities of the asphalt help minimize rutting and cracking.

  • Asphalt Rejuvenator - An asphalt rejuvenator penetrates the asphalt well below the surface to chemically revitalize and protect the asphalt binder. This means rejuvenators restore the components of asphalt lost in the aging process and are designed to penetrate, flux and co-mingle with the existing asphalt binder.

  • Diamond Grinding - Diamond grinding is a pavement preservation technique that corrects a variety of surface imperfections on both concrete and asphalt concrete pavements; although it is most often utilized on concrete pavement. Diamond grinding restores rideability by removing surface irregularities and improving the smoothness of a pavement. Other important effects of diamond grinding are improvements in skid resistance, noise reduction and safety.

  • Dowel Joint Retrofit - A dowel bar retrofit is a method of reinforcing cracks in pavement by inserting steel dowel bars in slots cut across the cracks. It is a technique which several U.S. states' departments of transportation have successfully used in repairs to address faulting in older concrete pavements. The typical approach is to saw cut and jackhammer out the slots for the dowels. Once the dowels are in place, the slots are typically backfilled with a non-shrink concrete mixture, and the pavement is diamond-ground to restore smoothness.


The Projects

  • Completed FY2016-2020

  • Current FY2020-2022

  • Future FY2021-2025 (includes planned project maps for FY22-23-24-25)


Community Input

To successfully maintain city streets and best utilize City resources and funds, the City of Stillwater works hard to evaluate current infrastructure and utilize the most cost-effective methods to keep streets at satisfactory levels.

Citizens can help with this process by notifying the City regarding street conditions and issues. To report damaged streets, potholes and other general street maintenance issues, please use the City’s interactive Report & Track tool.

The City will also be holding community meetings in fall of 2021 across Stillwater. For the purpose of the meetings, the City will be divided north and south by Hall of Fame Avenue and east and west by Duck Street, forming four areas. Meetings will be held in each quadrant.

Community Meeting Schedule

Meeting #1

(SW Stillwater)

August 246:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Stillwater Middle School

Meeting #2

(SE Stillwater)

September 7, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Highland Park Elementary School

Meeting #3

(NW Stillwater)

September 14, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Will Rogers Elementary School

Meeting #4

(OSU)

September 21, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Student Union Theater

Meeting #5

(NE Stillwater)

September 23, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Stillwater Junior High School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of its plans to engage Stillwater residents in the process, the City will be forming various citizen committees to provide guidance and oversight.

Residents can also give input on the projects at any time by visiting the T.I.M.E. Projects page on the City's civic engagement platform, Speak Up Stillwater.

The community input will help guide the City Council as it determines the best course forward for Stillwater.


Content last reviewed 08.19.2021