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FLORENCE — The Town Council approved for a contract for a top-performing street preservation known as HA5 at cost of up to $293,467 at its Oct. 5 meeting.

Public Works Director/Town Engineer Chris Salas told the council that town staff spent the last year researching alternatives and interviewing and visiting other communities, “and essentially, there is no alternative product to this.” Even with a price increase, “the town feels very confident that this is the best product. There was never a doubt this is the best product, we just weren’t happy with the price at the time.”

He said town staff isn’t recommending it just because Anthem neighborhoods have had it in the past, but because “it was the best product previously and it’s still the best product.”

Vice Mayor John Anderson asked what type of material it is.

Salas said it isn’t a chip-seal, an asphalt sealant or emulsion product. It’s much thicker, and the industry refers to it as a “mineral bond” product. It seems to seal in the asphalt, protect it from ultraviolet rays and last longer than any other product on the market. Salas said people come to Anthem to see what almost-10-year-old HA5 looks like.

The town’s contract is with Holbrook Asphalt, using a cooperative contract through the city of Mesa, to clean, prepare and install HA5 “high density mineral bond advanced performance pavement preservation treatment.”

All of Anthem has been paved with HA5 except for the higher-speed roads, Salas said. In addition to several parts of Anthem and a section of North Spirit Loop, the town also plans to do asphalt preservation on parts of Orlando, Elizabeth, Keating, Celaya and Stewart streets, West Butte Avenue in the downtown area and Santa Cruz Drive in Florence Gardens.

Call to the public

In “call to the public,” Gary Pranzo, in a comment read by Councilwoman Michelle Cordes, said he appreciates the recent chip-seal surfaces in the downtown area, although it appears the town’s specifications for this work are either “weak or nonexistent.” He said there’s a lack of cleanup after the material is applied.

“Sidewalks, intersections and gutters remain cluttered with loose asphalt-covered aggregate for months after the job is complete. Truth be told, it never really clears away.” Pranzo recommended the town download the North Carolina Department of Transportation “chip-seal best practices manual.” He further suggested a qualified town staff person oversee the road preparation, finished product and cleanup.

Mayor Tara Walter read an email from another resident who said she couldn’t get an ambulance to respond last month, and suggested the town begin its own ambulance service. “No one wants to hear that no ambulance will be coming,” the resident said.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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