It appeared to be a mix-up when the hot asphalt started to pour down Oak and Hill a few weeks back. Residents and business owners were left mulling over questions about current and future city projects. Public Works Director and City Engineer Jerry Barnes aimed to calm the confusion during an open meeting held on June 26.
The purpose of the meeting was to explain what has happened, address what is going to happen, and discuss ways to improve updates and communication about these projects. According to Barnes these current developments are all part of a bigger plan stemming from the Globe City Council’s request to fix and replace the city’s major infrastructure.
In 2004 the City of Globe was approved for a loan from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority for a series of projects to improve the water systems and facilities. The original 2004 loan took $5 million and distributed it among the Hagen water tanks project, the Cutter Booster Station pump upgrades, Well #2 casing liner, and the Well #5 drilling and development project.
In 2014 the city was approved for another WIFA loan for $5.5 million with $3 million under a forgivable principle. This loan was used for a series of projects to improve the water system and facilities. “During this time water lines were breaking every day,” said Barnes. “These lines could take up to 14 hours to fix, so the 2014 loan was focused on the wells and water pipes.” These projects included water tank replacement and improvements, water meter replacement and installation as well as new automated reading and software, Well #3 repair and equipment replacement, replacing and upgrading the SCADA system, replacing hydrants, pressure system valves and water system modeling, and replacing US 60 and other miscellaneous waterline.
For the 2017 WIFA loan of $3 million with $750 thousand forgivable, the city decided to focus on things that didn’t get done the first two times. These projects included waterline replacements, commercial water meter replacements, the Bonita Flats Booster station upgrades, and the Apache and Crestwood Booster station upgrades. The city used the loans to fix and replace their major water infrastructure. “WIFA now looks at Globe as a model community,” said Barnes. “We took on a lot of the work ourselves and put the money in the ground instead of someone’s desk.”
“And now we paint the city black,” said Barnes. “A lot of the construction that was seen early on was water related, now we can focus on paving.” The Globe City Council originally wanted to mill and fill every road in the city limits, but the expense of fresh asphalt prevented immediate gratification of this goal. “We gave it 20 years,” said Barnes. “We had to figure out what we needed to complete some of this project every year and estimated that the city can fix 7.5 miles of roadway a year.” Barnes chuckled and said, “Basically, there’s not a single good road in the city except for the one we just laid.”
According to Barnes there is a total of 138.85 miles of street in Globe. ADOT is responsible for 9.61 miles. The city’s 20-year strategic plan covers 129.24 miles of Globe streets. The Oak/Hill Street project received $716,339 in federal funding with the City of Globe matching $43,101.66. “This is the first paving project we’ve done in a while,” said Barnes. “We’ve received a lot of appreciation from the people that ride on that road daily.” Several chip and fog seal projects are taking place on city roads as well. Barnes states that these projects are a four-part process creating a “mobile closure” that may be disrupting traffic throughout Globe.
The lucky streets, like Oak and Hill, that qualify for a complete mill and fill are receiving a full make-over from the ground up. Barnes said that before laying asphalt the gas lines must be replaced and the water lines. “This is the combination we are looking for,” said Barnes. “Once the pavement is laid there should be no reason to cut into the fresh asphalt to fix infrastructure.”
“And it’s all about to happen again on Broad,” said Barnes, referring to the ongoing construction in downtown Globe. “We know it’s going to be disruptive. We are going to maintain traffic, but parking may be disrupted.”
It’s the subject of parking that brought many local business owners to the meeting to express their concerns.
Some business owners felt that parking spaces were being filled needlessly with signage or work trucks. “The city needs to do a better job getting the word out because not everyone has Facebook,” stated one concerned citizen.
Barnes stated that the city will look into better ways to inform the public about projects and project timelines and look into opening up parking for local businesses.