Work crews will be out on Brookfield streets in early October, starting a street crack sealing project expected to last several weeks. On Sept. 12, Brookfield trustees unanimously approved awarding a $34,601 contract to SKC Construction Inc. to do the work, which will focus on streets paved between 1992 and 2004 throughout the village.

At the same time, trustees also approved awarding a $16,680 contract to AC Pavement Striping Co. to lay down pavement markings principally on streets paved in Brookfield between 2003-05.

According to information provided in June by Village Engineer Derek Treichel, the crack sealing effort in October will address some 106,900 lineal feet, the most aggressive project of its type in recent memory. A recent survey of crack sealing done by the Brookfield Department of Public Works since 2000 showed that no more than 10,000 lineal feet of crack sealing had been done in any one of the years since that time. In 2004 and to date in 2005, the village has performed no crack sealing, which is done to extend the life of asphalt streets.

While voting for the project, Trustee Linda Stevanovich questioned using a private contractor for the work, saying that village Public Works crews were capable of doing the work more cheaply. She blamed the need to seek a private contractor on recent layoffs in Public Works.

Moreover, she intimated that the village would end up paying more than the $34,600 in the contract to do the crack sealing, since any further direction on the project from the village’s engineering firm has not been taken into account.

A memo provided to trustees on Sept. 12 from the Public Works Department, however, appeared to dispute Stevanovich’s contention that using village workers would be cheaper than a private contractor.

According to the memo, it cost the village anywhere between $1.32 and $2.29 per lineal foot of crack sealing in labor costs alone for Public Works crews to perform the work. On the other hand, the bid price from SKC Construction for labor, equipment and material to do the work came out to 97 cents per lineal foot.

The figures were provided to the Public Works department by Hancock Engineering, the village’s engineering firm.

Treichel said that he used a figure of $30 per hour (salary and benefits) to figure the labor cost for village crews to do the work. Material and equipment costs did not factor into that number, he said.

“If you add the last five years together, we haven’t done as much crack sealing as we’re going to do this year,” said Trustee Kit Ketchmark in response to Stevanovich. “And the cost is a fraction of what this is costing us in-house.”

An experimental street sealing project using a “pavement rejuvenator” had been proposed in June for two village streets, but the project was not included in the crack sealing contract award.

The rejuvenator, a liquid applied to asphalt to restore the flexibility of the pavement and provide a tight, sealed surface, was eyed for Morton Avenue between 31st Street and Garfield Avenue and the entire length of Riverside Drive.

The cost was estimated at $6,000. Treichel said the village was still seeking proposals from companies and that the work is anticipated to be performed this year.