Richland needs to more than double its spending on street repairs to keep its deteriorating roads from getting even worse, city officials say.
The city spends $1.2 million a year on road maintenance, including routine crack sealing and larger-scale overlay and road reconstruction projects.
The city also adds about five miles of new streets each year because of new subdivisions.
But 37 percent of Richland citizens who filled out a recent survey rated the town’s street conditions as “fair” or “poor” — the most negative rating of any item they were asked about.
Jeff Peters, the city’s transportation and development manager, told the council recently that the main arterials, including George Washington Way, North Stevens Drive and Keene Road, rate a 75 on a pavement condition scale of zero to 100.
The city’s overall street condition rating is 79, he said.
“The bad news is that is trending downward,” Peters said.
The trouble is the money is not going as far as it once did.
He said at the current spending level, Richland will have a deferred maintenance backlog of $26.6 million by 2025. That would also cause its pavement condition to drop to 69.
To keep at the current rating of 79, the city would need to spend $3.2 million a year, Peters said. But that would still leave $4.13 million in deferred maintenance.
Richland would have to spend $3.8 million a year to eliminate its backlog by 2022, he said.
Other streets that ranked poorly included Aaron Drive between Jadwin Avenue and George Washington Way, and Blue Street in north Richland.
The street in the worst condition is Carondelet Drive, which connects Goethals and Stevens drives, running by the Lourdes Counseling Center and the skate park as well as two large churches. It received a rating of 20.
Despite numerous filled-in potholes and hundreds of cracks, that road is not likely to get new pavement anytime soon. “It’s low-volume, and we’ve got other streets that are higher priority,” Peters said.
Mayor David Rose said the city council will probably discuss the issue as part of its budget process for next year and decide then whether to increase its annual road repair spending.
“I know it’s important to maintain the roads; I could see that needs to go up as part of the maintenance curve,” he said. “I’m in favor of it going up, but, to what extent, I don’t know yet.”