Aurora, CO

Aurora plans to borrow $35 million for street maintenance

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Aurora, Colo.) The rubber hit the road Monday during discussions on street repairs in Aurora.

In response to a request by councilman Dustin Zvonek, city staff showed the City Council what it would cost $35 million through 2028 to make minor improvements to the city's streets.

During its study session, the council agreed to borrow the money. The council plans to adopt a policy of assessing its roads based on pavement condition instead of age.

Finally, the council will create a dedicated fund for roads instead of paying for repairs from multiple budgets.

During a presentation, staff explained Aurora's rapid growth hindered road maintenance.

"We are slowing the decline but not maintaining or improving roads with current funding," according to a staff report.

"This allows them to get caught up immediately with road maintenance," Zvonek said.

Some council members worry that a labor shortage will hinder contractors' ability to repair Aurora's roads promptly.

But Lynne Center, deputy director of public works, said the contractor said it could handle the job.

A pavement report card

The city will begin to assess its roads using PCI, or pavement condition index. The index gives streets a score between 50 and 100.

The index is calculated by data obtained from the roads. Lasers attached to a vehicle evaluate the road's condition.

According to a staff report, Aurora scores 69 for its transportation system. That's considered fair. For the $35 million the city plans to borrow, the staff believes Aurora could improve its overall score to 73.

For comparison, the system scored 77 in 2009.

How neighborhoods rank

Scores for Aurora roads include:

· East County Line Road from South Monaghan Road to east city limits, 90, excellent.

· East Otero Place from S. Blackstone Parkway to East Nova Place, 80, good.

· East Glasgow Drive from South Powhaton Road to East Indore Avenue, 75, good,

· S. Gartrell Road from East Phillips Place to Inspiration Lane, 70, good.

· East Inspiration Lane from South Gartrell Road to South Versailles Street, 50, poor.

· Meadowood subdivision, 50, poor.

The worst Aurora roads

Roads scoring below 50 (extremely poor) include:

· East Bates Avenue from South Jasper Street to Chambers Road, 39

· East Columbia Place and South Winston Street, 37

· South Odessa Street and South Nederland Way, 39

· Saddle Rock subdivision, 39, poor

· East 12th Avenue and Laredo Street, 23.

· East 24th Avenue from Altura Boulevard to Fairplay, 20, the worst road in Aurora.

Forty-three percent of roads in fair, poor shape

Aurora has 1,291 miles of roads. The city of 386,502 encompasses 160 square miles. Its transportation system has seen 67.4 percent growth from 1986 to 2020. About 43 percent of the network suffers from roads in fair or poor condition.

Mayor Pro Tem Francoise Bergan said the city must prioritize fixing Saddle Rock's streets. "I have seen the road conditions and it's so bad."

Bergan called the plan to improve the roads "a brilliant strategy."

Center said the city would save money in the long run by better maintaining its roads earlier in their lifespan. For example, once roads hit "fair" condition they deteriorate faster.

The city plans to borrow the $35 million by issuing certificates of participation. City collateral would back the loan, which voters would not have to approve unlike issuing bonds.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career at local newspapers. Today, I report on Denver and Aurora city halls for NewsBreak. Prior to joining NewsBreak, I worked several years as a health reporter and branded content writer in the healthcare space. I also worked many years as a news editor and city editor. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver.

Denver, CO
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