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By Echo Menges
The City of Edina has invested $60,000 into repairing three streets surrounding the Knox County Courthouse at the Edina Town Square.
On Thursday, June 24, 2021, work began for the crew from the WL Miller Asphalt Company, which was contracted by the city to pave the east, west and north blocks around the courthouse consisting of one block sections of North Fourth, East Monticello and North Main streets in the center of the Edina Town Square.
The streets are some of the widest, most visible and traveled streets in Edina. The North Fourth Street block measured 67 feet wide, and the North Main Street block measured 70 feet wide from gutter to gutter, according to City Street Department staffer Roger Parton.
“It’s wide,” said City Superintendent Joe Dimmit. “They’re almost the size of three regular streets.”
The project lasted eight days from beginning to end, which was prolonged by a breakdown at Central Stone’s hot mix asphalt plant located just west of Edina.
Early in the morning on June 24, the WL Miller crew began milling down the edges and ends of the streets with a milling machine, which roughed up and removed up to an inch-and-a-half of the existing asphalt. The process is also known as “cold milling” because the existing top layer of the streets were made of a cold mix asphalt base.
The project halted for the next week to wait for the availability of hot mix asphalt from the plant.
The south end of the 100 block of North Main Street remained closed to traffic after the cold milling process uncovered large sections of Edina’s historic brick streets. The section connecting North Main Street to Highway 6/Lafayette Street was kept closed throughout the project to keep those sections from softening under the weight of passing vehicles, according to Parton.
Last Thursday, July 1, the hot mix asphalt plant was back in operation and work began to sweep up the fines. Fines are the loose dirt and debris left on the streets after the milling process.
The crew used large sweepers and a pickup broom to collect and load the fines into a nearby dump truck before whisking them away.
The same afternoon, the crew used an oil distributor to spray 600 tons of SS1H oil on the clean streets.
“It works as a binding agent to stick the new asphalt to the old asphalt,” said Parton.
Friday morning, July 2, the WL Miller crew was back with a paving machine to lay down approximately 600 tons of hot mix asphalt and two steel drum rollers to pack the asphalt down.
The crew laid the hot mix while it was at a temperature of 260 to 270 degrees Fahrenheit beginning at Highway 6/Lafayette Street and working their way north on North Main Street. The hot mix sizzled and steamed as it went down.
“These are the first streets in Edina to ever get hot mix – that we know of,” said Parton. “Hot mix is much better than cold mix because it packs down stronger and lasts a lot longer. It also seals better so there isn’t as much opportunity for water to penetrate and freezing and thawing to damage the streets.”
According to Parton, the new layer of asphalt is between 1.5 and four inches thick with the centers of the streets having the thinnest layer, and the edges and ends having the thickest.
Saturday morning, July 3, the streets were reopened to traffic.
The final step of the project will be to repaint the parking stripes on all three blocks.
According to Parton, reflective street paint has been cumbersome to find. WL Miller’s supplier of the special paint went offline during the breakdown of the electrical grid in the State of Texas over the winter. The street paint supply has been limited ever since.
“We will get the parking lines painted on just as soon as we can,” said Dimmit.
According to Edina City Clerk Margaret Gibson, if the City Council is happy with the project they could move to repair four more blocks in central Edina with hot mix asphalt. The streets in line for hot mix replacement include the 100 block sections of South Main and South Fourth Streets and the 200 block sections of North Main and North Fourth streets.
According to Dimmit, the City Work Crew will also be laying cold mix asphalt on eight to ten blocks within the city limits this summer.