By Jon A. Brake
And the debate goes on...
The Manhattan City Commission received another study ($14,013.00) Tuesday night. This one is on which pavement is best: concrete or asphalt. And the winner is...a tie...but we recommend concrete.
Randy Kaster, P.E., with HWS Consulting Group out of Omaha said that the cost of residential roads built with concrete and asphalt will be about the same after 50-70 years.
The Consulting Group used bid tabulations for nine city projects between 1997-99 to find the original construction costs. They used five year costs for maintenance and this could throw the study off. If the company had used maintenance figures for concrete streets over the past ten years the figures would have been much higher.
In 1989 the city stopped requiring steel mesh or wire in concrete streets. The result was streets were in distress after only one or two years. Today four of the five streets listed in distressed condition are concrete: Gary Ave., Little Kitten Avenue, Lisa Lane and Snowy Reach. Sharingbrook is the only asphalt street on the distressed list.
In 1993 the City hired a Topeka attorney to file a lawsuit against Manhattan
contractors for poor street construction. After a Free Press story showed
the City had stopped using steel, the City dropped the case.