In a move that undoubtedly will make a large number of Provo motorists smile, city crews will begin resurfacing East Center Street by mid-May and should have the project complete before June 1.

East Center has not been overlayed for a number of years, and its aging asphalt - combined with patched-over cuts done to accommodate utility work - make the street between University Avenue and 9th East one of Provo's worst driving surfaces.The road is the city's top resurfacing priority this summer, the second year of a six-year repaving program to improve Provo's streets.

The condition of the city's streets has been deteriorating since the early 1980s. For several springs, runoff from heavy snowpack in the mountains caused floods that forced the city to spend money budgeted for capital improvement projects on emergency flood control measures.

In 1986, voters approved almost 2-to-1 an $8 million general obligation bond issue to fund the road improvement program, scheduled to run through 1992. The bond issue is being repaid through a property tax increase scheduled to be in place for 12 years.

Under the voter-approved increase, property taxes gradually rise on a bell curve, reach a peak and then gradually fall until the tax expires. It's estimated the owner of a $100,000 home will likely pay $108 in additional property tax to fund road improvements over the 12-year life of the bond issue.

In addition to East Center, the following Provo streets are scheduled for resurfacing this summer: Freedom Boulevard (Second West) between Fourth North and Fifth South; Third South between University and 13th East; Fifth West south from Third South; West Center from Geneva Road west to Utah Lake State Park; and Columbia Lane south to Fifth West.

Several other residential streets in northeast Provo will also be overlayed this summer, said City Engineer Nick Jones.