As village officials continue to address clean-up and other related issues from last month's flooding, another weather-related issue has surfaced — damaged streets.
After an initial assessment by Village Street Superintendent Steve Parr of JEO, the Arlington Village Board of Trustees gave its verbal approval April 15 for a street assessment to be completed at a cost of $11,700.
Formal approval will come during the board's May 20 meeting, however, Parr said JEO officials will "take a leap of faith" and likely have the assessment completed before then. Parr and other JEO representatives were in town this week conducting the study.
"I was shocked," Parr said last week as he discussed his initial assessment of the conditions of several streets after a drive through with Village Streets and Parks Commissioner Jon Rosenthal.
Parr believes the mild start to the winter and subsequent cold, snow and melting could have gotten into already existing cracks and led to larger cracks and pavement break-up.
He said the damage ranges from 10-foot-by-10-foot spots and 100-foot areas that need repair to full widths of some streets.
Board Chairman Paul Krause said the condition of village streets is concerning.
"I'm afraid to even let our street sweeper come into town," he said. "You know the potholes we are going to have if he sweeps up all the asphalt that is laying on these?"
Parr said the study will look at an area that spans from Elkhorn to Bell streets from North First Street to North 11th Street.
"We need to get a handle on it, because it is overwhelming almost to look at some of this stuff," Parr said.
During the assessment, Parr said each street will be rated to determine the extent of repairs and once that information is compiled, an aerial map will be created
"It should help you make some decisions as to prioritization and what needs to be done," he said.
Parr anticipates the assessment to be ready by the board's May meeting. The repair process, however, will be a different story.
"It's not going to be easy to get somebody in here because there's all this other work," Parr said.
Parr indicated that because companies who do this type of work are tied up with other jobs, it could be one to two years before some repairs could be undertaken.
"So, what are we going to do?" Board Vice Chair Mark Sundberg asked.
"Let's get this evaluation done so you know where do you even start and what are the priority streets," Parr said.
Then, if there are repairs that can be temporarily fixed, Parr said that could still happen this year.
Those temporary fixes could include patches, but he said those will just be putting a bandaid on the situation.
Sundberg wasn't opposed to doing patches.
"Some spots need it," he said. "Even if it's for a year, it needs to be addressed."
Responding to Krause, who was concerned about being able to justify the cost of the assessment, Parr reiterated that it will help create a visual look at the damages.
"I wouldn't be proposing this if I didn't think there was value in it," Parr said.
While not directly related to the flood, Krause said there is an argument to be made that the rapid snow melt and rain could have led to the damage and he asked Parr his opinion on whether the village could get FEMA funding to help with repairs.
"I'd be shocked if FEMA would say, 'Yes we are going to pay,'" Parr said. "If water was running across the roads and damaged them, I think it would be likely, maybe."
Since that was the not the scenario, Parr said "It's pretty unlikely."
Sundberg said he was concerned that with the closing of St. Paul Road (County Road 9) there is increased traffic on village streets.
"We need to express our concern with the county so they can get that open as soon as they can," Sundberg said.
Parr reassured the board they aren't the only communities dealing with street-damage issues.
"We are seeing the same thing going on all over," he said. "There's no rhyme or reason to it, it's a patch here and there and some of it is extensive."
Krause agreed that Arlington is not as bad as Omaha and Fremont.
"But, it won't be that way for long," he said.