OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Overland Park City Council voted, 10-2, to approve two bids totaling $3.1 million for chip sealing, as several residents urged members to find a new method for street repair.
"I was running down our street. I just lost my footing," 11-year-old Avery Allen, who lives in Overland Park, said.
That fall gave then 8-year-old Avery a big gash on her forehead.
"I was barefoot, so I tripped over a big piece of asphalt and fell on my face,"Avery said.
She said it took months for it to heal. But, her mother, Krista Allen, said it could have been prevented.
"We had had chip seal done just several months prior to that, and it had already begun to break away in pieces," Krista said, "and it's continued to do so. I mean years later, there are giant chunks out of the street."
Allen was referring to Overland Park's street-repair process of chip sealing, which City Engineer Lorraine Basalo said the city has used for decades. The council voted, 10-2, to approve two parts of the project that was presented Monday night.
"That is basically the application of an oil, followed by the application of rocks that are then embed into that oil," Basalo said. "What it does it seals the street."
It's those rocks that have upset residents. Because now there are divots and loose rock all over the Allen's cul-de-sac.
Neighbors, who have been voicing complaints for years, said someone could easily get hurt and that it's also dangerous for cars. The city made changes like having smaller rocks in the mixture. But some residents want a totally different method to fix the streets.
"It is not something that we want done again and they're planning to do it here just directly," Krista said.
Chip sealing, according to Basalo, is the best option.
"We had a time where we used a different method, micro surfacing, and we did that for a few years," Basalo said. "We actually saw the condition, the overall condition of our roads decrease."
Basalo also told 41 Action News that chip sealing is cost efficient and has allowed the city to treat "from 150-200 lane miles a year."
According to the Overland Park Construction Projects website, "compared to other project types, chip seal provides a better value to taxpayers and residents because it lasts longer and is less expensive."
Still, for families like the Allens want the city to find a new way to repair the roads.
"We could go out and play on the street and play a game a kickball," Avery said. "Now, we have to sit in our driveways and we can't do that anymore."
Two city council members, Dr. Faris Farassati and Scott Hamblin, opposed the plan.
"The No. 1 reason the people of Overland Park are so upset and so dissatisfied is simply, safety, the ramifications of this technique," Farassati, Ward 5 council member, Park said. "This needs to come to an end."
The majority of city council members said it's too late in the process to change its current method but they are open to finding alternatives moving forward.