Oklahoma City officials expect to achieve their goal this year of extending the life of 100 lane miles of arterial streets through a process called micro surfacing.
The annual program is in its warm-weather phase now, which should last through October, city streets superintendent Mike DeGiacomo said.
Micro surfacing costs about 25 percent of what a full resurfacing project would and extends the life of the road up to seven years, DeGiacomo said.
“It's sort of like if you have a wooden house, instead of replacing the siding you just paint it,” he said.
Micro surfacing involves a thin layer of rock, cement, emulsion and other materials spread across an asphalt roadway that fills in small cracks and protects the street from water, DeGiacomo said.
It is done in warmer weather, and crews fill in the larger cracks with tar during the cold months.
It doesn't fix structural issues with the roads, like bumps and potholes, so full resurfacing eventually will be necessary. But the longer roads last, the more money the city saves, he said.
Heat meant mixture changes
The extreme heat this summer meant changes to the mixture of emulsion and harder materials, but it did not otherwise affect the process, DeGiacomo said. The mixture cures after about 45 minutes, so traffic disruption is minimal.
The city has micro surfaced about 70 lane miles so far during the warm months and should finish another 30 by the end of next month.
Streets that have been micro surfaced this year include the Broadway Extension service roads, Britton Road from the extension to Kelley Avenue, Lake Stanley Draper Drive and Pennsylvania Avenue between SW 104 and SW 89, said Tim Ishmael, the city's unit operations supervisor of street maintenance.
Pennsylvania eventually will be resurfaced all the way through SW 44, he said.
The program's first year was 2002.