The City of Swift Current is shifting gears on how they tackle large road repairs.

A three-year microsurfacing pilot program will begin this summer after the idea was pushed for during budget deliberations.

The City has awarded the nearly $266,000 contract to Alberta's West-Can Seal Coating Inc. to complete 2.3 kilometres of microsurfacing this year. The deal was awarded at council on Monday night.

Greg Parsons, the City's general manager of infrastructure, said microsurfacing costs about one-third the amount complete road rehabs do.

"The goal of the program is to maintain the roadways that are marked as fair and in good condition to prevent these roads from requiring a more expensive treatment in future years," he said. "Microsurfacing is relatively new in western Canada. It's a mixture of oil, aggregate, Portland cement, and water. A thin overlay of the mixture is applied to seal up cracks and fill minor ruts. It's not a structural improvement, however, it will extend the lifespan of the roadway by preventing further weathering."

West-Can Seal Coating Inc. was the lone bidder on the RFP that was posted on SaskTenders and the City's website and originally asked for around $305,000 for the job. Although the City bartered the price tag down almost $40,000.

"The smaller quantity of the City's program resulted in unit rates being higher than expected. West-Can agreed to reduce the unit rates to achieve the scope of the work outlined within the proposal in support of the pilot program. In addition, the City ensured street sweeping would be completed prior to work beginning to reduce their costs.

"I think some of these bigger companies that can do this kind of work are looking for bigger contracts. When we do a pilot project for x amount of dollars, they're looking for huge multi-million dollar projects."

The shifted approach from the City will see them rebuild 900 metres of roadways this summer combined with the 2.3 kilometres of microsurfacing bringing the total roads being fixed to 3.2 kilometres. Which is nearly double the annual average of rebuilt roads of 1.75 kilometres.

"If it does work out, it does become a pretty good deal for the citizens and the City of Swift Current to extend our pavement and street infrastructure," said Ryan Plewis, a Swift Current City Councillor. "Maybe if it works out we can look at increasing the budget by having a lot more streets and being a little more attractive to these contractors."