On the City of Harker Heights website is a report called “Long Road to Recovery.”

This continuous series of updates keeps residents informed as to the process of repairing major damage to streets caused by the historic winter storm in February.

The City Council made it official on March 4 that street repairs were a high-priority item within this current fiscal year.

On March 12, the update stated, “The City has completed its review of repairs needed on major collector streets damaged from the storm.

A collector street is one that is three lanes wide and carries traffic from minor streets, including residential streets, to the arterial street system.

The city has contracted with an engineer to provide specifications of work and the engineer’s estimate of the cost in preparation for taking bids for the street repairs. The city will utilize reserve funds to begin the repairs this year. It is the city officials’ desire to begin this repair work beginning in early summer.

The Herald spoke with Jerry Bark, assistant city manager, by phone Wednesday and asked him about how the “Long Road to Recovery” reports began to be a regular feature on the website.

Bark said, “It got started during the severe winter weather event when we lost water. We started posting updates to let residents know about the process. During that time, citizens were sending us emails and calling in to let us know that they really appreciated knowing what was going on with the water issue. What we found out is that even if it’s just a small bit of information and even if it (the news) was bad, they were appreciative to know about what the staff was doing to get their water back on.”

Right now, the city is focusing on the collector streets that carry traffic to arterial streets.

“Yes, it’s a little confusing, but we wanted residents to know that we are aware of the major damage caused by the storm. We got to thinking that we used this communication method with the water situation; why not do the same for the street recovery process,” Bark said.

“The city staff has retained an engineer and we have given them a detailed list of the streets that needed repair,” Bark said.

“We created date sheets for those plus a cost estimate document and we are currently waiting on those to arrive from the engineer. We’re hoping to see some street rehabilitation work begin in late July or early August,” Bark said.

Capital Improvement Funds were already budgeted in the 2020 program for projects that are ongoing.

Bark said, “This Friday, we anticipate asphalt being laid at the Chaparral Project and we also have the top layer all the way to the base material removed on Rattlesnake as well as Mossy Oaks. Those capital improvements approved by the Council in the 2020-2021 budget will continue on top of the winter weather damage repairs to come.”

Bark said they will be adding an overlay map to the website that shows where construction will begin.

“I also wanted to add that our city street crews are continuing to work on residential potholes and that won’t stop even after the major repairs begin in the summer.

“If residents have a pothole in their neighborhood it’s a good idea to report it,” Bark said. “I might already be on our list.”

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