The city of Phoenix continues to pave more than ever before. The hottest summer on record and a global pandemic did not slow street maintenance crews and contractors who successfully completed the city’s busiest paving season yet. These essential workers could not work from home, but with less traffic, pavement projects moved quickly and in a more convenient way.
Every year since its implementation in 2018, Phoenix’s Accelerated Pavement Maintenance Program has broken records. 2019 marked Phoenix’s largest paving season yet, tripling the number of major street miles paved than on average. And 2020 was even busier, with approximately 130 more miles of streets treated than in 2019.
Approximately 590 miles of Phoenix streets received pavement maintenance treatment in 2020 – about 12% of the city’s entire street network.
The Accelerated Pavement Maintenance Program brings more benefits than smooth roads to Phoenix. People walking and riding bicycles will also notice improvements. A freshly paved street is a blank canvas – Street Transportation staff examine each roadway for opportunities to improve safety and bicycle connectivity. More than 40 miles of new bicycle lanes were installed and approximately 30 miles of bicycle lanes were upgraded to include buffers in fiscal year 2020. Additionally, more than 3,000 curb ramps were upgraded to meet the most current ADA standards through the 2020 pavement maintenance program.
“Phoenix residents chose to invest in their future by approving Transportation 2050 and we are fulfilling that choice by improving our city streets at a record-setting pace. Public safety, economic development and education all depend on properly paved streets and it is critical to do as much as we can during the paving season,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams, chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Innovation city council subcommittee. “We appreciate the patience of our residents while roads were restricted and the hard work of our staff and crews during this busy season.”
The city of Phoenix also brought innovation to street maintenance in 2020 by introducing the Cool Pavement Pilot Program. Cool pavement was applied at nine locations across the city, covering 36 miles of residential streets in neighborhoods and one parking lot at a city park. This lighter in color asphalt treatment has the potential to offset rising nighttime temperatures in Phoenix, serving as “sunscreen for the road.” The program, through a partnership with the city’s Street Transportation Department and Office of Sustainability and Arizona State University researchers, will continue to be evaluated in 2021 to study the effectiveness and durability of the material.
“Although 2020 has been a challenging year, the city of Phoenix hasn’t slowed work toward its ambitious goals,” said Mayor Kate Gallego. “With the cool pavement program and the record-breaking street paving season, the Street Transportation Department continues to demonstrate its innovation and commitment to efficiency and effectiveness.”
The accelerated schedule for pavement maintenance continues through 2023. The city’s interactive dashboard at phoenix.gov/pavement allows residents to see the program’s completed projects and planned projects. The Accelerated Pavement Maintenance Program is a five-year program, funded through a Council-approved $200 million advance on voter-approved Transportation 2050 revenues.