Birch Avenue just tip of iceberg for Bremerton street repair

The in basket: Bob Larry says in an e-mail, “Birch Ave off of Sylvan in Bremerton is in horrible shape. Other than the obvious reason of ‘it’s not downtown,’ is there any reason this road and others in the neighborhood aren’t being maintained?

The out basket: The answer is obvious, all right, but “not downtown” isn’t it.

It’s been well publicized that the city has dozens of streets that rate a zero in the annual assessment of their condition, and Birch is one of them. So are a lot of arterials, which will get attention before residential streets like Birch.

“The roadway (on Birch) has completely failed and needs reconstruction,” concedes Gunnar Fridriksson the city’s managing street engineer.  “The estimate to reconstruct was approximately $90,000 – but that does not include the storm water improvements we will also be required to do with the reconstruction.  I would guesstimate total cost to repair the street at about $200-250K.

“But there is some good news on the horizon,” he said. The additional license tab fee the city imposed two years ago will provide at least $500,000 for street maintenance in 2014.

“While recognizing many of our residential streets need a lot of help, it has nevertheless been our approach to focus this money on our arterial streets,” Gunnar said, “because arterials carry much more traffic, have bigger safety issues, and impact a larger number of people than our residential streets.”

They spent only $53,000 of the money the tab fee raised for 2013, mostly for sealing of pavement cracks on arterials to prolong their life. The carryover will leave the city with about $750,000 for arterial improvements next year.

In addition, Gunnar said, the city council recently redirected some city utilities money to the street fund. “This starts small but builds fairly quickly to several hundred thousand dollars per year,” he said. “We think this funding will enable us to begin to address some of our worst residential streets – but we are still probably three years out.

“We estimate our maintenance backlog at about $5 million a year. So we aren’t at the funding level we would like to be, but we are making progress, and we do expect to be able to take on some of these residential streets within the next few years.”


One thought on “Birch Avenue just tip of iceberg for Bremerton street repair

  1. As I recall, the mayor and council had decreed that the streets to be repaired are the ones that are in better shape; the poor ones are at the bottom of the list. Therefore, I seriously doubt the really poor streets will ever get attention. And despite propaganda to the contrary, I also doubt any repairs outside the Pacific Ave. area will ever receive any priority. Seems there’s millions for the mayors pet projects, but precious little for residential work. Better get used to it – the current regime has another four years of wasteful spending, constricting the streets.

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