ABILENE, Texas - A consultant who specifically studies roads called Abilene’s streets “the worst he’s ever seen,” and while city council has spent months discussing how to pay for the fixes, there’s still no final plan.
FUGRO Roadware gave Abilene City Council the report in March, saying it would cost a total of $377 million to completely fix the roads in the city.
"We have not addressed streets since the early ‘90s," said Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams.
KTXS obtained a map from the city showing that more than 90 streets in Abilene received the worst possible rating, with a Pavement Condition Index score of zero. Abilene Director of Public Works Michael Rice said each road was scored based on a scale of zero to 100 based on a variety of factors.
"They have the different types of distresses, whether it be cracking, potholes, utility cuts, whether it has any type of rutting, it's got cracking showing ... the culmination of those grades then gets them to the score of zero," Rice said.
After more than 30 public input meetings regarding a street maintenance fee, council decided to vote not to implement one.
"I think they should fix it,” said longtime resident Judy Proctor. "I think the city needs to fix our roads. We pay taxes just like everybody else, you know, and this is very bad."
Since 1999, Judy Proctor has lived on one of the 90 streets that got a score of zero and has never seen her street repaved. Not only does she dodge potholes as she drives on the street, she also dodges the road hazards while taking walks in her neighborhood.
"This road has been really bad after rain. All the little rocks are everywhere and almost impossible for you to walk if you don't be careful," Proctor said.
Proctor said she wouldn't mind paying a small amount for a street maintenance fee to have the roads repaved.
Even tire shops are seeing the impact of Abilene’s roads on drivers, with Tom’s Tire Pros General Manager Jay Joseph saying that hitting a pothole can result in bent rims and blown-out tires.
"Every day, people are coming into our shop needing a wheel repair or tire fix because they hit a pothole," Joseph said. "Almost on every street in Abilene, there's a pothole. [It’s] something we need to have fixed, the city needs to do something about this."
Although council voted to not implement a fee, the city is not giving up on the roads. Williams said there would be an opportunity for voters to weigh in on the ballot.
But council hasn’t determined the exact amount a street maintenance fee would cost residents. In the past, they've discussed charging anywhere from $1.75 to $6.75 per month.
"Traditionally, the community has supported streets, and so I'm anxious to see … results of a would-be election. That will direct us in a significant way on how we deal with the streets," Williams said.
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