The city of Delaware is about to begin its annual street maintenance program, which will cover 31 streets and take most of October, before asphalt plants begin closing down for the winter.

The city of Delaware is about to begin its annual street maintenance program, which will cover 31 streets and take most of October, before asphalt plants begin closing down for the winter.

"We're a little bit later than we might normally be," said Doug Wright, city project manager. "We usually try to do it when school is out, so we don't have conflicts with the buses, but most of our streets this year are not close to the schools."

The work will be handled by one general contractor, Shelly and Sands, who in turn will work with subcontractors. The contract amount is $410,000.

"If you do a total reconstruction, hypothetically, you might have to rebuild a road for $1-million, while for less than half of that we can resurface from 12 to 18 streets. We're trying to prolong the life of the streets. If you do nothing, then you have to replace the street entirely, and that's a much bigger impact on the residents of that street."

Wright said about half of the streets would receive "mill and fill," the most intrusive maintenance, where the pavement is removed to about an inch and half depth and replaced with fresh asphalt.

The remaining streets will be treated with slurry fill and other treatments, and a newer "rejuvenation" technology that infuses existing pavement with the volatile organic compounds that are lost over time to drying and sun exposure.

"If you have an aged pavement that is cracking, and you get water into it, that crack expands, and the more that happens, then the underlying road base can start to deteriorate," Wright said. "You hope you can avoid complete reconstruction as long as possible."

It is common for the city to spend from $250,000 to $500,000 annually. About half of the cost is paid by the gasoline tax and about half is paid by the city's general fund, Wright said.

Wright compared roadways to cakes: The pavement is like the frosting layer, and as long as the pavement is sound, the foundation layer remains strong. Eventually, though, the foundation layer breaks down and a complete replacement is necessary.

"The streets that will be done this year include full width, curb-to-curb resurfacing on Annette, Estelle, River, and Richardson streets, Lachance Court, Rutherford Avenue, and resurfacing on Blue Spruce Court, Champions Court, Grace Street, Hill Street and Spencer Street.

Slurry seal will be applied on Ash Street, Ashburn Drive, Cottswold Drive, Delta Street, Glengary Drive, Overtrick Drive, and Quarry Court, while rejuvenator will be applied on Basswood Street, Beech Drive to Dogwood Drive, Bendelow Court and Bendelow Drive, Indigo Blue Street, North Street, Ruby Red Lane, Sapphire Ice Drive, Crystal Petal Drive to Ruby Red Lane and Tanglewood Drive.

Residents with questions may contact Wright at (740) 203-1723.