The City of Tulsa said after years of roadwork, it has a plan to change the way it maintains streets.
City engineers said there are two big goals. First, the changes will likely mean the city will save money on projects, and second, projects won’t take nearly as long on certain streets.
The decision moves away from a policy of building a road and then letting it sit for years until it needs to be redone again.
Henry Som de Ceff, the city's design engineering manager, compared the move to good car maintenance.
"The analogy is that we're changing the oil in the engine instead of waiting until the engine is failing, and we have to put in a new engine," Som de Ceff said. "Or painting your house on a routine basis so you don't have to do a siding replacement."
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the change to prioritize maintenance is only possible because of the years of work already done.
"We are at a key turning point as a city right now because we just spent a decade and over a billion dollars completely rebuilding the worst streets in town," Bynum said.
Until this point, city engineer Henry Som de Ceff said roads were so bad, total overhauls were the only option. He said on some roads, a complete redo will still be best but newer streets with a lot of life left in them will need a lot less work.
"That allows us to get into the neighborhoods and out of the neighborhoods a lot more quickly," Som de Ceff said.
In most cases, the work will involve removing and replacing only the top few inches of a road, instead of the entire structure and infrastructure beneath.
Bynum and Som de Ceff both said maintenance like this will also cost taxpayers significantly less than a complete rebuild.
"Instead of this being a street project that takes years, it's a street project that takes a couple days and you're not having to repair all the other sewer and water lines underneath because that's already been done," Bynum said.
The changes will take effect in the 2021 to 2022 fiscal year starting in July.