Improvement on commercial roads, residential streets and other neighborhoods around town is nearing completion in the citywide project to upgrade their surfaces.
And as the work continues, with lines, crosswalks, arrows and other symbols being painted on streets around Riverbank over the past week, the inconvenience to residents nears its end, as well.
The multi-stage effort has stretched into weeks. The streets involved are closed to traffic, particularly parking, to first, scrape the old paint off, then slurry seal the asphalt. Then, the parking lines were repainted, followed by crosswalks, ‘STOP’ painted on the ground, lines and other symbols painted in their place to finish the job.
Each done by a different work crew, with their own expertise, it sometimes seemed like weeks between phases.
Uproar in the back and forth of the ‘Riverbank Crossroads And Adjacent’ Facebook page indicated some residents’ confusion over the process as it played out in the west side of town.
Many who commented complained about the difficulty of getting around the road work, pointing out how impossible it was to get to and from home through the maze of streets that connect one area with another while the main thoroughfares were occupied.
Some questioned the need for resurfacing streets in the Crossroads area, since they’re some of the newest in town. Others pointed out that sealing asphalt prevents the deterioration that would lead to a need for replacement.
On Thursday, June 23, painting crews were at work on Crawford Road, a major thoroughfare from the east to west side of Crossroads. The slurry seal work earlier made it difficult for residents on the day it was done, but there were fewer problems during the painting. With the raised center divider, a whole lane was blocked during sealing and while it cooled.
But only half at a time was closed at the intersections during painting of the crosswalks. And since the paint isn’t traditional paint, it can be driven on much more quickly.
The paint is actually liquid plastic. It’s heated to liquid form in an oven on a truck nearby, then poured into the applicator, which also has a propane burner to keep it warm and soft.
Once a section is painted, soapy water is applied, then dried off with a leaf blower. It cools and solidifies enough that the lane can quickly be reopened, allowing waiting traffic to travel through.
Thursday’s work saw the crosswalks in that stretch completed, with ‘STOP’ painted on the ground in the through and turn lanes but center lines and bike lane smaller lines were still to be completed at the weekend.