Ultra-thin asphalt is being overlaid on various streets in Plano to improve road quality around the city.

City officials said repairing concrete pavement typically requires the entire section of road to be removed and replaced. By using the overlay, workers only need to repair and seal cracks in the concrete to maintain the road’s structural integrity before applying an ultra-thin layer of asphalt on top.

Officials said this method is a faster, more cost effective way of repairing the city’s concrete roads.

The overlay was first tested in 2017 on Independence Parkway from Parker Road to West 15th Street, according to Dan Prendergast, assistant director of public works. The lasting condition of the road and feedback from Plano residents prompted officials to move forward with more overlay projects, Prendergast said.

“At first we had a lot of negative feedback,” Prendergast said. “But that quickly turned to positive feedback when people drove on that section ... because it was the smoothest road in town.”

The overlay improves driving quality, but Prendergast said the asphalt also keeps water from leaking into cracks in the concrete, which prevents further damage.

“Water is really our biggest culprit when it comes to road degradation,” he said. "[The overlay] helps protect and preserve the pavement much longer. The construction time is much faster than doing a full replacement [of the concrete].”

Prendergast estimates full concrete replacement of a six-lane divided section of road can cost between $11 million and $13 million per mile and take about two-to-three years. He said minor concrete repairs followed by the ultra-thin overlay costs around $1.5 million per mile and can be done in a few months.

The city is also placing the overlay on Windhaven Parkway from western city limits to the Dallas North Tollway and on Parker Road from Preston Road to Independence.

Streets that will receive the overlay include:

  • Jupiter Road from Park Boulevard to Chaparral Drive;

  • Coit Road from Parker Road to Sam Rayburn Tollway;

  • Hedgcoxe Road from Legacy Drive to Custer Road;

  • Legacy Drive from Custer Road to US 75;

  • Plano Parkway from Park Boulevard. to Preston Road; and

  • Parker Road from Preston Road to western city limits.

Construction costs are funded through the $364 million bond package passed in the May 1 election. Officials said the city will continue to monitor for additional streets that could use the overlay.