Contractors will repave 47 miles of travel lanes on city streets throughout Bend as part of a $4.7 million contract approved this week by the Bend City Council.

The city has dramatically increased its street preservation spending during the past few years as it attempts to catch up with $85 million in deferred maintenance and fix aging roads before they need to be completely rebuilt. The contract councilors approved unanimously Wednesday adds to that work, said David Abbas, director of Bend’s streets and operations department.

“It’s our largest contract ever from a paving perspective,” he said.

The repaving includes several streets downtown, where this year’s contractor, Knife River Corp., repaved Bond and Wall streets last summer.

It also includes portions of other major arterial and collector roads, including Mt. Washington Drive, Purcell Boulevard, Third Street and Fourth Street, said Paul Neiswonger, the city’s street supervisor.

“Probably our biggest challenge is going to be Third Street,” he said. “We’re going to hit from Wilson up to Badger, curb to curb. That ties in with the sidewalk project that was completed last year.”

The city and Deschutes County will also apply chip seal, a protective coating of liquid asphalt and crushed rocks, on about 15 lane miles on Awbrey Butte and near Pilot Butte. Another 34 lane miles, primarily in northeast Bend and on Reed Market Road west of the Deschutes River, will be coated with slurry seal, which seals cracks and preserves existing pavement.

Most sections can be completed in a day or two, meaning drivers will see short-term closures instead of the weeks-long detours they experience when roads are being rebuilt, Abbas said. Knife River plans to do some repaving at night, as it did downtown last summer.

This summer’s repaving and other road repairs help put the city on track to reach a pavement condition index of 73 by the 2019-20 fiscal year, Abbas said. The pavement condition index measures road quality on a scale of 1 to 100, and cities aim to keep that score in the 80s or higher to avoid costly road repairs.

Bend’s began dropping near the start of the Great Recession and reached a low of 68 in the 2015-16 fiscal year. It’s now at 71 citywide and in the high 70s when looking just at arterial and collector roads.

“That increased effort over the past few years, we’re seeing it out there on the streets,” Abbas said.

Residential streets make up most of Bend’s 850 lane miles and drag down the average. The city will start doing more work on residential streets next year.

“The issue of all those local streets still hangs out there,” Mayor Casey Roats said. “This is really good, and we’re making a lot of headway on those really important streets that we all use a lot, but the local streets continue to age every day and that challenge still remains to be dealt with.”

—  Reporter: 541-633-2160; jshumway@bendbulletin.com

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misstated how many miles of streets would be repaved. The Bulletin regrets the error.

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