Salem Road will see improvements before the end of the year.

“This wasn’t a part of the 2018 overlay project list but it was a priority for the city council,” spokesman Bobby M. Kelly III said. “It’s not going to happen this week but it’s got be within the next month because of the material.”

The material is not an overlay, which would cost around $200,000, but a microsurface. Road Foreman Jacob Reynolds said microsurfacing costs about a quarter of that.

Microsurfacing is a polymer-modified, cold-application paving system utilizing specialized equipment that apply high-quality aggregates to create a long-lasting wearing surface on good, strong pavements.

Microsurfacing begins as a mixture of dense-graded fine aggregate, asphalt emulsion, water, and mineral fillers. It is applied to existing pavements by a specialized machine, which carries all components, mixes them on site, and spreads the mixture onto the road surface.

The city decided Monday to go ahead with the microsurfacing.

“Salem obviously needs work,” Kelly said. “It needs to be rebuilt with bike lanes and sidewalks and the bridge at Tucker Creek needs to be replaced. In the meantime, this newer, cheaper alternative is a stop-gap that will last [until Salem is rebuilt.]”

He said spending $200,000 on an overlay that would have to be dug up in a few years when the rebuild starts was not in the city’s best interest.

“We don’t want to throw money away as a city with overlay," Kelly said.

He said not all streets are good candidates for microsurfacing, which is three-eights of an inch versus overlay, which is 2 inches.

A company based in Missouri will do the microsurfacing, which will likely affect school traffic from Carl Stuart Middle School and Marguerite Vann Elementary School.

“It might get kind of hectic there for a few days,” Kelly said, but added that microsurfacing is quicker than overlaying.

Some benefits of microsurfacing include:

* Increased safety. The aggregate mix in microsurfacing restores surface quality and improves kid resistance, which improves safety.

* Protective layer. An additional 3/8-inch surface that seals and reduces pavement oxidation, which can lead to fatigue cracking.

* Quick construction. An hour after the treatment is applied, the road is ready for traffic and gives the appearance of an all-new surface.

* Installation anytime. It is a process that can be performed day or night.

In a separate note, Kelly announced Van Ronkle Street will be closed to thru traffic this weekend while Centerpoint Energy digs up utilities for Markham Street improvements. The street will be open to foot traffic.