Brookhaven, GA, December 15, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The City of Brookhaven is working to implement a policy and build a better system to prioritize paving projects, and ways to better utilize the street condition data gathered during roadway laser scanning. Streets and roadways are the single largest city asset, valued at $763K per mile or $92.5+ million (plus improvements and right-of-way).
While the city has made considerable progress paving city streets, the city’s current Pavement Condition Index is 66 on a scale of 0 to 100. And, the city maintains a paving backlog of about 16%. Both numbers fall into the “average” category based on National Averages*. In order to get from average to excellent on both counts, the city must up its game.
City Manager Christian Sigman is working to create a Pavement Management System (PMS), whereby Brookhaven will have a data driven system and formalized policy spelling out how paving is prioritized. Doing so will also take away any real or perceived “political scheduling” and rely on a systematic, methodical, repeatable approach.
“If we can do better, good is not enough,” said Sigman. “We are striving to the best in everything we do. With hundreds of street segments, there will always be a need for repaving and maintenance, but we want to be universally known for protecting and extending the life of our road assets.”
Data from formalized PMS processes will provide Council with a useful tool when setting paving budgets and considering resource allocation. It will also give the city the data it needs to comport with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB’s) Statement 34, which recommends that governmental agencies report the real and depreciating value of their infrastructure assets in their financial statements.
Zac Thomason, National Client Services Manager from Infrastructure Management Services (IMS), the vendor Brookhaven uses to assess the roadway conditions through a large laser scanning unit that drives around and scans the city streets, delivered a brief Tuesday to Councilmembers.
In Thomason’s presentation, he suggested that Brookhaven has found itself in a place where at the current annual paving funding levels, the city has effectively stagnated on gaining ground on completing all of its planned annual paving projects and reducing project backlog. He suggested the city employ a balanced PMS approach through a combination of objectives, policies and budgets; priorities, analysis techniques and reports; and understanding the pavement condition data and how it can be applied into a meaningful strategy.
When IMS creates a pavement condition index through laser truck data collection, they measure:
- Fatigue/Alligator Cracking
- Wheel Path Rutting
- Distortions & Weathering
- Patching & Potholes
- Divided/Shattered Slab
- Joint Spalling/Sealant Damage
- Corner Breaks/D Cracking
Through a mathematical and scientific evaluation system, a number is generated – the PCI rating.
An “excellent” PCI rating is what Brookhaven is striving for, which would mean the city has the best pavement conditions in the metropolitan Atlanta area. And in doing so, the city would get to a place where they can actually proactively plan and forecast paving initiatives rather than living in a mostly reactive space and left dealing with the consequences of deferred maintenance.
To get there, however, it is going to mean the city has to work harder and smarter, and commit to short and long-term funding. Thomason suggests Brookhaven utilize a full suite of rehabilitation strategies reviewed on an annual basis; employ steady and effective rehabilitation and maintenance on an annual basis saving the City money over deferred maintenance; and resurveying city streets every 3 years to update the condition data, analysis models, and rehab program.
Sigman says embedded in the PMS strategy he envisions, residents won’t only be able to travel on better pavement but benefit from the data collection in other ways.
Using the data, the city would create a map overlay and apply it to the city’s GIS maps. This overlay would allow residents to visit the Brookhaven GIS map site, activate the layer, and see all previous, current and future paving projects. He says this would allow citizens to see for themselves when their roads will be paved and how their tax dollars are being spent.
For 2017, Brookhaven leaders have budgeted $4 million for paving, almost 2X the funding level the city has appropriated annually the last couple of years. The city says with this funding infusion, it will serve as a springboard to achieving an “excellent” PCI rating, when coupled with dedicating $2.5 million in annual funding for pavement initiatives moving forward.
* According to an IMS presentation delivered to the City of Brookhaven, December 13, 2016.