If you drive the streets in the City of Dixon, there are a number of locations that are in need of repair. As there are miles and miles of streets in the city, properly maintaining the roadways is a great financial commitment. The City of Dixon continuously looks for better and more cost efficient ways to maintain our streets as funding is always an issue. Motor Fuel Tax dollars are the primary source in purchasing the materials required for maintaining and also reconstructing the roadways through contracts. Streets are much more than just pavement. The maintenance responsibilities include curb, gutter, sidewalks, parkways, trees, and drainage systems.
The City of Dixon has a major initial investment in city streets. As the city grows, the miles of streets increase. Just take a look at a city map and you can see the number of streets and alleys throughout the community. The Dixon Street Department has the important responsibility of maintaining this vast system. Much of what the Street Department deals with is drainage issues. After heavy rains, inlets and storm sewers can become filled with debris. These inlets and storm sewers then need to be cleaned and debris removed so that storm water can flow properly.
In the summer, a primary responsibility is crack sealing. There's nothing more damaging to streets than moisture in the pavement. Water can get in a crack and travel through the pavement to the sub-grade causing the upper surface to break up. To prevent this from happening, street department crews spend time filling cracks with a joint sealer. Some of the cracks are too wide to fill with crack sealer and need to be filled in with a patching mixture. When the streets get too broken up, they need to be replaced with new pavement. In the winter time, a major responsibility is snow removal. Each worker is responsible for a particular section of Dixon. Using plows and salt spreaders, the city streets are typically cleared in short order.
Another responsibility of the street department is the sidewalk program. This program is a partnership between the Street Department and city residents. City crews remove and replace residential sidewalks. The homeowner shares part of the financial responsibility for their section. A number of sidewalks throughout the city have been replaced through this program.
A nice partnership has developed between the Dixon Street Department and the Tree Commission. Mike Devine, one of the Street Department employees, serves on this commission. This provides direct communication between the Street Department and the Tree Commission. The Tree Commission's goal is to plant new trees throughout the city while properly maintaining the more mature trees throughout the community.
Last year Federal dollars were used to reconstruct Boyd Street from Brinton Avenue to Jefferson Avenue. This project included new curb and gutter, sidewalk, pavement, and upgrades to the storm sewer system. Another roadway that was built last year was an extension of Tollway Drive to the south of Bloody Gulch Road. This project was built and paid for by the contractor that constructed Tractor Supply Company. Like most residential and commercial developments, upon completion of the roadway construction, these streets are dedicated to the City of Dixon, thus increasing the maintenance responsibilities for the Street Department.
This summer, Lincoln Avenue from 3rd Street to 1st Street will be reconstructed using Motor Fuel Tax funds. This new construction will include curb, gutter, and storm sewer that will connect to newer roadway improvements north and south of the project limits. Motor Fuel Tax funds will also be used for a storm sewer project east of Jefferson Avenue from Bradshaw Street to north of McKenney Street. In the summer of 2010, the City of Dixon will be using funds received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to reconstruct South Hennepin Avenue (Reagan Way) from 3rd Street to River Street. This project will continue similar themes from the Heritage Crossing Riverfront Project including period lighting, trees, benches, sidewalks using pavers and other special amenities.
Handling the maintenance of the newly constructed streets along with properly maintaining the older sections of roadways takes a staff of dedicated employees. Led by Superintendent Mike Stichter, this department operates as efficiently as funding will allow. Resurfacing and reconstructing the vast number of deteriorating streets is a desire shared by all, but can only be completed as funds become available. In the mean time, the street department cleans, sweeps, and repairs the roadways as needed. Working with Superintendent Stichter in this endeavor is Foreman Jim Canterbury, Heavy Equipment Operator Steve Weidman, Mechanic Skip Willett, and Street Maintenance Specialists Mike Devine, Ed Ryan, Ryan Haenitsch, and John Sheridan. The Street Department is committed to the City of Dixon in maintaining not just the pavements in our community, but the entire roadway system including curb, gutter, sidewalks, parkways, trees, and drainage systems. As the city grows, their dedication and commitment will continue to grow as well.