Q&A: How street projects are selected

July 19, 2022

Few topics in local government generate as many questions, concerns and complaints as Streets. Today we look at the questions you ask most often about City streets and, hopefully, provide some answers.

Problem highways

Why doesn’t the City fix Adams Boulevard and Hensley Boulevard?

This is arguably the No. 1 question/complaint regarding streets in Bartlesville, and the answer is pretty simple: Both are highways (U.S. Highway 60 and State Highway 123) that are owned and maintained by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, not the City of Bartlesville.

The good news is the State plans to resurface Adams Boulevard in what is technically two separate projects over the next few years: one extending 3.71 miles east of Highway 123 and another at the overpass, over U.S. Highway 75.

According to ODOT’s 8-Year Plan, the right of way and utility design portion of the reconstruction of US-60 from State Highway 123 east 3.71 miles will be funded this year, with the funding for the actual reconstruction becoming available in 2025. The portion of roadway at the overpass, over U.S; Highway 75, will be funded in 2023.

Unfortunately, Hensley Boulevard is not included in ODOT’s 8-Year Plan and, as far as we know, there are no plans to resurface the roadway in the foreseeable future.

Note that City staff may not be aware of any changes with these projects as they are not City projects. For more information, see ODOT’s full 8-Year Plan at www.oklahoma.gov. For contact information, see ODOT’s website.

Eastside, westside

Why does the City only care about the streets on the east side of town?

This is an age-old perception that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon — no matter how many times it is proven inaccurate.

Let’s start with the money:

Street projects are funded three ways:

  • General Obligation Bonds
  • Half-cent Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Sales tax
  • General Fund

The first two require voter approval during elections which are generally held, in the case of CIP, every five years and, in the G.O. Bonds, “as needed.” In preparation for these elections, street projects are identified based on the following:

  • The Pavement Management Analysis Report (scroll down for more information on this)
  • Recommendations from the citizen-driven Street and Traffic Committee
  • Citizen complaints
  • Internal/staff assessment of road use and condition and considering whether or not it is likely to cause damage to vehicles and consideration of whether the roadway is an arterial street or not

During this process, projects are selected in all five of the City’s wards. If in doubt about this, take a look at the map above, which shows street projects completed using CIP or G.O. Bond funding over the past 20 years or more. Projects that are upcoming show the same result. You can find them here.

The last method of funding is through the City’s General Fund, which is used to fund most City operations. General Fund projects are selected by the Public Works Department on an “as needed” basis, and are typically more simple in nature, such as a mill and overlay or pothole repair.

We realize there is a perception by some that some streets are cared for better than others because of some sinister reason, but all the evidence points to the contrary. This is true despite the fact that “east-side” streets generally have higher traffic counts and are more densely populated.

Timing & emergencies

When are you going to fix (my) street?

Why won’t you fix a street with an iron rod sticking out of it/pothole in it/crumbling asphalt?

If the street you’re asking about is bad enough shape, it’s a pretty safe bet it is on the list for repair and will be fixed as soon as the funding has been identified and is available. That said, it never hurts to tell us about it.

If it’s an issue that requires immediate attention, such as an iron rod sticking out of the roadway, please contact the Public Works Department to report it. You can reach them at 918.338.4130 or 918.338.4131.

If it is not an emergency but rather general roadway deterioration, please email the Street and Traffic Committee at kdtoulou@cityofbartlesville.org or call 918.338.4251.

To see a list of projects included in current G.O. Bond or CIP funding as well as projects that are known to be necessary but for which funding has not yet been identified, see www.cityofbartlesville.org. Keep in mind this does not show projects identified by the Public Works Department for General Fund-funded repairs, which are determined on an “as needed” basis.

PMA analysis

How can I get a Pavement Management Analysis done on my block?

The PMA analysis is performed by IMS Infrastructure Management Services of Tempe, Arizona, periodically and involves an analysis of every City-owned street in Bartlesville. It is not conducted by blocks.

Long-term planning is based on this in-depth report showing the condition of the city’s streets and how to best manage repairs and rehabilitation. The PMA works on the premise that it is more cost effective to perform repairs and/or maintenance on streets before they reach a certain point of deterioration. It is heavily relied upon when prioritizing street projects, although other criteria is used as well. (Scroll up for more information.)