The city of Denison began paving the way, figuratively and literally, Monday for more than $441,000 street improvements on the east side of town in coming weeks.


Crews with the city started work on the 2020 series of street improvements, which will see 21 area roads milled down with a fresh coat of asphalt laid down.


“So, this project ... will be an a overlay where they take off the top quarter inch to an inch-and-a-half of asphalt and then repave it with asphalt,” said Carrie Jones, assistant Denison director of public works. “We choose the streets based on the condition of the sub grade, average daily traffic counts, and so they have to meet criteria for this program.”


The process, which Denison has pursued heavily in recent years, can extend the life of roads an average of 12 to 15 years, depending on the condition of the street substructure.


For the latest series of improvements, Denison is turning its attention toward the east side of town, with parts of Monterrey, Lamar and E. Sears among the roads that will see work.


In addition to the streets, the latest cycle will also see paving in the alleyways behind the 200-block of W. Woodard St, hear the post office building, and a city-owned public parking lot in the 200-block of Chestnut.


“We did focus on the east side of town this go around,” Jones said. “We try to lump them together so there isn’t a lot of charge when it comes to the mobilization cost from our contractors.”


The city started its recent push for traditional and micro paving over the summer of 2017 when it invested more than $2 million in street repairs. Each year year since, the city has pledged to invest about $600,000 in upkeep maintenance.


Jones said the remaining funds for this year’s projects are being reserved in the event of emergency repairs and other projects the city plans to do later this year.


When the city initially pursued the current paving program, the goal was to increase the average Pavement Condition Index — a grading system for road condition — to an average of 65 out of 100 throughout the city.


When Denison initially surveyed the roads, some were as low as the single digits, officials previously said.


“Of these streets, the average pavement condition index is 33. Some of those were taken prior to some utility work that was done, and we try to coordinate with utilities so that we aren’t paving streets that will need to be cut in the next few months.”


“Of course we would like to see our numbers much higher than that, but the mid-60s, budget-wise is what we are shooting for,” Jones continued. “We still have some streets that are well below that, so that’s what we are looking to shoot toward.”


Between the mill work and the paving, Jones estimated that the project should take about two weeks to complete, weather permitting. None of the roads are expected to be closed for an extended period of time during the repairs, Jones said.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.