Grand Forks plans to dedicate more money to maintaining streets

Pavement conditions in Grand Forks as of June 2013. Photo credit: City of Grand Forks.

Starting in 2014, Grand Forks plans to dedicate more money to maintaining its street system as part of a federal push to focus on preserving roadways.

The move will have the city upping its ongoing street maintenance and repair project spending to about $1.3 million per year.

That’s a 333-percent increase from about $300,000 that it was spending before the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century transportation bill passed in 2012 and set a goal for municipalities to keep road systems in a “state of good repair.”

According to City Engineer Al Grasser, routine maintenance projects in cities often can be overshadowed by projects deemed to have a higher priority.

A map showing pavement conditions in Grand Forks as of June 2013. Photo credit: City Of Grand Forks.

“Maintenance tends to be the stuff that slips through,” he said. “The biggest needs rise to the top.”

In one case, that may mean taking money to build roads to connect a new development to existing neighborhoods instead of repairing a bumpy street.

It’s a tough call to defer maintenance, but one the city needs to make, according to Grasser.

“Otherwise, you’re stifling growth,” he said.

You can continue reading the story here.

The increase to more maintenance money was announced in June during a city budget presentation. That presentation contains many more maps and graphs for those interested in city street projects.

The city’s Capital Improvement Program is approved each year within the city budget. It includes the breakdowns of funding estimates from local, state and federal sources.

The budget book isn’t available online yet (You can pick one up at City Hall. Just a warning, its about 450 pages long and can double as a weapon.), but I converted my paper version to a spreadsheet available to view below.

Grand Forks Street Projects

It’s note on the document, but I’ll reiterate that the $125 million isn’t the amount the city will pay. That total is shared by the city, state and federal government. You shouldn’t seen a massive hike in taxes in order to pay for these projects.

And as Grasser told me during our interview, thing change based on the availability of money so this list likely won’t be exactly the same one year from now.