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Street Maintenance

Curb and gutter problems

The Maintenance Division is responsible for maintaining approximately 600 miles of curb and gutter. Curbs and gutters gather water run-off from the street and carry it to the storm drainage system.

Street Maintenance keeps a list of curb problem locations including those that have been reported by residents. The most effective, long-term repair of curbs is curb replacement. Public Works hires a construction contractor to replace a specific amount of curb each year. All other curbs in need of repair are patched with asphalt by Street Maintenance crews. The City also removes trees in the right-of-way that are heaving curb or sidewalk for no direct charge to the property owner. Curb problems can be reported by calling 952-563-8760.

Pavement Management Program (PMP)

The Pavement Management Program is used to improve concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk, constructs handicap access ramps, repairs deteriorating asphalt and reconstructs, overlays or sealcoats existing streets. The program encompasses approximately 45-50 miles of streets in Bloomington annually. The Maintenance Division performs routine patching and crack sealing operations to improve and extend the life of the street system.

PMP also maintains a computerized Pavement Management System. This system includes an inventory of the entire street network as well as roadway test data for each street in the city. It allows us to select streets for repair at the most effective time. We are currently working on connecting the Pavement Management inventory to the City's Geographic Information System. This will allow us to visually overlay the information on pavement with information about other infrastructure. In practical terms, it will allow for staff to plan and carry out maintenance on pipes and manholes that lie below the surface before the pavement is reconstructed. This capability helps our staff make the best use of the City's resources in an effort to maintain our infrastructure responsibly.

The City relies on a rating system to provide a fair and systematic way to determine which streets need to be repaired. One-third of the city streets are rated each year by evaluating the defects (cracks, potholes and soft spots) in the road. This rating system allows us to determine what maintenance strategy will need to be used for the street. A database of all the street conditions is updated every three years by the Maintenance Division.

Potholes

Report a Pothole using the City's online form.

How are potholes formed? The most common cause is the freeze/thaw cycle. The ice/snow melts during the day filling cracks with water. At night the water freezes and expands, popping out the asphalt.

Even without freezing weather, water can seep into cracks on the road's surface. Combined with the vibration of traffic, it can cause the asphalt to fail. This is why there are more potholes after it rains.

Finally, potholes can be created when trucks and buses stress the roadway, causing a movement of the subsurface. Once there is a weak spot, every car that travels over it worsens the problem, and eventually a section of the material will fail.

Evolution of a pothole

 

Our goal is to respond to all potholes within 2 business days of being notified. We take care of the problem initially by installing a temporary patching material. Then we prioritize the potholes by size, number and street traffic volume to see if more extensive repairs are warranted.

Potholes and other roadway failures are repaired by Street Maintenance in order of priority.

  • Report potholes online or by calling Street Maintenance at 952-563-8760.
  • Potholes on County Roads are fixed by Hennepin County crews. These roads include all of Old Shakopee Road as well as the parts of 24th Avenue, Portland Avenue, Nicollet Avenue, Penn Avenue, France Avenue, Normandale Blvd, and Bush Lake Road that are north of Old Shakopee Road. To report a pothole on one of these roads, you can call Hennepin County Operations Dispatch directly at 612-596-0299.
  • Potholes on State Highways are fixed by MnDOT. These roads include I-35W, Cedar Avenue, -I494 and TH 169. MnDOT has a web page to report potholes.

Road weight limits

The City of Bloomington follows MnDOT's schedule for imposing and removing spring road weight limit restrictions.

Additional information can be found by calling MnDOT at 651-747-2253 or by visiting the MnDOT website.

The road weight limits map for Bloomington can be found here.

Street repair

The City is responsible for maintaining 342 miles of pavement (streets). Routine maintenance of the streets reduces the number of repairs required. Scheduled maintenance programs include crack sealing, sealcoating and overlay.

The goal is to patch areas that will provide a safe street network throughout the City. Any calls received are generally handled within 24 hours. Every seven years, all streets are sealed through a systematic process using the City's Pavement Management Program.

Maintenance strategies include:

Patch and repair

The repair of the typical "pothole" or other similar small isolated section of structural failure. It involves removal and repair of the street section.

Crack seal

Bituminous or blacktop pavement by design is flexible to accommodate the freeze/thaw cycle of our climate. Subsequently, cracking will occur in relatively new pavement and continue throughout its life due to age, traffic, weather, etc. Crack "filling" is the placement of a liquid asphalt emulsion into the void, coating the newly exposed internal surface of the pavement to limit further deterioration. Crack "sealing" is the placement of a rubberized sealant in the crack that will provide a protective coating and seal out water.

Sealcoat

The surface application of an asphalt emulsion followed by the placement of small graded aggregate. This coating is wear-resistant and protects pavements from oxidation and the effects of moisture.

Mill and overlay

This process includes grinding the old surface to make the pavement uniform, then adding a new hot-mix overlay. An overlay is a structural improvement which renews the street surface and extends the life cycle of the original pavement.

Reconstruction

All existing asphalt pavement is removed through a full-depth milling process, pulverized to a specific gradation, reclaimed and recycled with the existing aggregate base. Then a new full-depth hot-mix asphalt pavement is installed. It may also involve soil corrections and removal of aggregate base.

Sidewalk maintenance

Sidewalks constructed in the right-of-way are repaired and maintained by the Street Maintenance Division. The city's sidewalks are divided into three districts. Each year, sidewalks in one of the three districts are inventoried, surveyed for repair needs and scheduled for repair. If you have a sidewalk concern, please call 952-563-8760.

Street sweeping

Cleaning city streets provides safe conditions for all modes of transportation. This includes sweeping and flushing services for over 342 miles of streets and bike lanes. Clean streets improve air standards and stormwater quality for the citizens of Bloomington.

City streets are swept twice a year - in the spring and again in the fall. The spring sweeping begins in early April and takes about 4 - 5 weeks. Crews work two shifts: Monday - Friday, 4 a.m. to 12 p.m., or 12 to 8 p.m. The map below provides information about spring street sweeping progress.

Fall sweeping is completed in October. The City alternates sweeping start and finish points each year so that no area is always first or last. The fall sweeping is NOT intended to sweep up leaves. Residents are responsible for leaf collection.

Do not rake leaves into the street. Leaves blown into the street are a major problem for storm sewer systems. They clog both grates and pipes, contributing to back-ups and/or flooding. They accumulate in the pipes, not only contributing to reduction in flow but also ponding, giving mosquitoes breeding areas. And ultimately, if and when the leaves make it to the creek, pond or river, they reduce flow there as well as use up oxygen, which reduces the viability of aquatic life. Leaves in the street also are a safety problem, especially when wet. Cars can easily fail to stop, sliding on wet leaves. Frozen, they present a problem for both motorists and snow removal.

Street sweeping progress map (spring and fall)