Butler Ave. is due for some upgrades thanks to a $100,000 boost in its road repairs budget, money that comes from Dungate Community Forest profits. (Angelique Houlihan photo)

Butler Ave. work deferred to next year

Decision pending on what will take place

Having $100,000 to spend on road repairs may sound like a lot of money at first but exactly what that can buy may open a few eyes as the District of Houston deals with an acknowledged problem in maintaining its road network.

The $100,000 is meant for repairs to Butler Ave. and comes from this year’s profits provided to the District by the Dungate Community Forest which is majority-owned by the District.

The District fully intended to spend the money on Butler this year after first considering spending it on roads used by Dungate Community Forest-related traffic but with work scheduling by contractors already set for the year and none available, the District is now looking at 2022.

“At this time, the plan is to look at completing these repairs in the 2022 Fiscal Year, dependent on the prioritization of routes to be rehabilitated,” said District chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck following a council discussion June 25.

“Given the cost of various methods of repair and the condition of our roads, it is more sensible to repair a larger section of Butler Avenue, rather than the limited section that the $100,000 is able to accomplish,” he said in estimating that given the width of the roadway, the money would be sufficient to repave 100 metres.

Still to be decided is what rehabilitation method the District will choose on Butler given past repairs.

One method would be to pulverize and pave, a technique in which existing layers are ground up and recycled or a deep mill and fill, a technique in which the existing asphalt layer is removed and a new one then placed, said Pinchbeck.

“Butler Ave has been subjected to several minor overlays throughout the years to maintain a reasonable surface condition, and as a result the crown of the road is now higher than the height of the curb and gutter,” he continued.

“As a result, it would be more valuable and cost efficient to tie in this amount with our regular paving program to rehabilitate a much larger section of the road.”

The District does have an annual road repair budget of $200,000 but it is far less than the $1.722 million recommended by consultants as to what’s needed. Council has, however, boosted that amount on occasion in the past by grants and other contributions from senior governments.

In all, the Dungate Community Forest forwarded $237,188 to the District from its 2020 profits and with the $100,000 for road repairs now committed, council is putting the remaining $137,188 into a reserve account to help finance the construction of a new community hall.

That follows the preference of the community forest board which regards a new community hall has a project benefitting a broad range of Houston and area residents.