Roads and sidewalks can degrade quickly in the mountains, especially in the winter when temperatures drop below freezing but quickly warm back up.
At Tuesday night's city council meeting, council members approved more than $1 million in funds for pavement patching, preservation and sidewalk repair to help smooth things out.
Nearly $700,000 of those funds will go toward patching and pavement preservation work on 20 city roads. Most of the streets are short and in residential areas, but four of the roads on the list are in bustling Biltmore Park.
One of those designated roads cuts through the middle of the main business corridor, Town Square Boulevard.
Anne Marie Sindt owns Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming on Town Square Boulevard with her husband, but their memories of last year's road work on Schenck Parkway have left them apprehensive of this next project.
"It was quite invasive. It took a while. It caused a bottleneck," Sindt said. "I think it also prevented people from coming in and shopping here."
But pavement patching and preservation shouldn't take as long as the full resurfacing done in 2018.
The city defines asphalt preservation as a "process that applies a 1/8-inch thick layer of asphalt to the existing asphalt surface (as opposed to a full overlay which is 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches thick).
The added layer helps protect the existing asphalt, extending its surface life.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, every dollar spent to preserve pavement delays the need to spend about six more dollars in the future. It also speeds up construction time.
"I think that’s a great idea that they can minimize the effect of the business owners," Sindt says. "If it doesn’t last as long, we’re going to end up doing it again. I mean, if it’s a five-year or 10-year deal, then I think that’s OK, because you never know what this place is going to look like in five or 10 years. But the least amount of impact the better for the business owners."
The city also approved funds totaling more than $300,000 for 1,200 feet of sidewalk rehabilitation along the south side of East Chestnut Street.
The historic brick walkway currently juts away from the level surface of the surrounding sidewalk, making it difficult to use for some pedestrians.
The city plans to keep as much of the historic brick as possible, replacing the bricks it can't keep with new bricks that match in color and texture.
Staff reports about these projects from the city can be found here.
According to a press release on the city of Asheville's news blog, streets designated for asphalt preservation include:
- Ardmore Street
- Bassett Road
- Bellevue Road
- Cherry Lane
- Edgewood Road S (Rock Hill Road to Sweeten Creek)
- Elmwood Place
- Houston Street
- Irving Street
- Lakewood Place
- Old Haw Creek (Middlebrook to east end)
- Roberts Road (Sweeten Creek Road to railroad crossing)
- Round Top Road
- Stamford Street
- Summer Hill Drive
- Thetford Street
- Town Square Boulevard
- Vanderbilt Park Drive
- Walterstone Road
- Wildwood Avenue
- Wood Avenue (Future Drive to the bridge over the railroad)