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The news is sweet for Juneau's fleet feet.
After some delay, installation of a new rubberized surface on the track at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park is set to begin on Monday, according to city project engineer Mike Krieber. The work will be done by Southwest Recreational Industries, a Texas-based firm.
Initially, the project was targeted for completion in May or June. Krieber said concerns about the selected surface postponed installation.
Krieber said the surface that was selected initially was found to be a spongy rubber that soaked up water. That meant it could not be installed in wet conditions.
"It was a real porous material and would be difficult to lay in marginal weather," he said.
Since installations are performed by the manufacturer, it was impossible to schedule a work crew's travel and expect a stretch of dry, sunny weather. In addition, even if weather conditions allowed installation, Krieber said there were concerns that the porous surface would create lasting drainage problems.
The city has opted for a slightly more expensive, better track surface that can be installed in poor weather.
"What we're looking at now, visually, is a harder surface material," Krieber said. "It's like a basketball court, with a pebbly finish. ... We're going to end up with a much better track - the best in the state."
The new surface will be installed atop the existing track, a mixture of sand, asphalt and rubber that was installed in 1982. Krieber said the cost will be somewhat higher than Southwest's bid of $174,821, but under the initial engineer's estimated project cost of $203,000.
Work on the resurfacing is expected to last all next week, with final details - such as lane striping - to be completed when weather permits. While the track will be closed to use during the installation, the football/soccer field should remain open and accessible, officials said.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.