The city of Choteau started a much-needed street repair project last week, beginning to prepare 7.17 miles of city streets for an overlay with two coats of oil and chips in mid-August. In the first phase of the project, preparing the streets, the city crew is using a grinder attachment to grind up the asphalt pavement on sections of streets that have been heavily damaged by frost heaves. Many of these streets have large potholes and places where the asphalt has simply fragmented into eroding shards.

One the damaged asphalt surface has been ground up, the city crew is adding gravel and dirt to the mixture to create a new base, which is then graded and compacted with a heavy roller. Once that is done, the street is ready for its shot of chip-sealing that will start on Aug. 10. The city is stockpiling 1,543 tons of gravel chips for the project. The chips and the oil to coat the 37,737 feet of city streets to be rehabbed will cost about $126,892.

The city is fixing the worst streets with the highest traffic in this round of repairs. While Public Works Director Mike Maples would probably like to do more, this is the amount the city street budget can afford to do this summer. Drivers no doubt will appreciate the end result even though the preparation work now means streets will be temporarily and inconveniently closed. When the project is complete, however, the relief of not having to jolt through the potholes and eroded areas or dodge the holes will be tangible for Choteau drivers.

We appreciate the city’s attention to street repair this summer and hope that the 2019-20 winter does not bring such damaging temperatures, and that the city will be able to catch up on needed street repairs next summer.