Road repairs to begin in Galax

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By April Wright, Reporter

Repairs to the roads in Galax will begin sometime after April 12, when asphalt plants begin production, according to City Manager Keith Barker.

For now, potholes and pavement hazards on main roads in the city, including East Stuart Drive and Main Street, are being sealed with cold patch asphalt.

This is a temporary fix, Barker said, because the pliable cold patch material can easily sink in or be pulled out of the road.

City road crews will spend a majority of the spring patching potholes caused during the harsh winter.

Barker is unsure of the number of potholes reported in the city, but said “we receive e-mails and phone calls every couple of days about potholes.”

The biggest problem areas include West Stuart Drive, Fries Road and North Main Street, where two water line breaks occurred this winter, he said.

Once asphalt is received, city crews will start with the major challenges and most traveled roadways, and then work into residential areas.

Barker is unsure of how much it will cost to repair the road damage, but said it falls into the same budget category as snow removal. Asphalt, he noted, costs $400 per truck load.

With $90,000 budgeted for snow removal and $20,000 budgeted for overtime, the city spent well over $150,000 this winter, including $25,000 in overtime pay for crew, $60,000 in gravel and salt and $25,000 in fuel, with a large portion funding snow removal.

More than 200 tons of salt was used during snow removal.

Barker said the city budgeted $15,000 for equipment repairs this year, but since the city didn't have to make many repairs, those funds were reallocated.

“Like snow removal, we're going to have to move around some funds to accommodate the cost,” said Barker. “We will continue to do work on roadways until we're satisfied. When you've got to make repairs, you've got to make repairs — and we have a lot of repairs to do.

Virginia Department of Transportation has budgeted $45.8 million for this fiscal year, ending June 30, for asphalt and concrete patching.