Pasco County is searching for a better way to catalog and repair deteriorating roadways and traffic signs.
Officials believe they’ve found the answer, via a $1.3 million road survey project.
The county’s public works department has enlisted the help of a consulting firm, Arizona-based Infrastructure Management Services (IMS), to use innovative data collection to map future infrastructure improvements.
It’s similar to how a Google Maps captures views of a neighborhood.
Over the next several months, specialized IMS vans equipped with laser road surface testers, video cameras and GPS receivers will travel roughly 840 lane-miles in Pasco — gathering inventory and assessing conditions along county-maintained roads and rights of way.
The information will be used to develop long-term strategies and schedule the rehabilitation and maintenance of roadways and right of way assets, such as street signs, traffic lights, road-related stormwater drainage systems, sidewalks and bikeways.
For instance, the 1-ton IMS van will measure the width and depth of cracks, pothole and other hazards on county-maintained roadways, while also capturing still images of damaged and obstructed traffic signs.
Each road will get a pavement condition index between 0 to 100, with higher values indicating better conditions of a road’s pavement surface. The study will also measure roadway foundations and subsurface conditions.
The data-gathering process began this month on the county’s arterial and collector roads. Local roads will be analyzed next, likely from September through the end of the year.
From there, the county will employ computerized pavement management software that will identify which roads it needs to repair first, based on inputted budget constraints. It will also identify best practices to repair a particular road — patching, paving, micro surfacing, surface rejuvenation and so on.
The new, first-of-its-kind road survey ultimately gives Pasco a better picture of what is going on with its roadways, officials say.
Branford Adumuah, the county’s public works director, likens the process to a doctor correlating data from patient information to more proactively address potential health issues.
“It’s money well spent,” Adumuah said of the road survey. “It’s going to allow us to do really a lot of preventative maintenance.”
The entire process will save the county money in the long run and better extend the life of its roadway network, officials say.
“You’re saving the county a lot of money and through that prioritization of what comes first,” said IMS crew chief Brett Vierow, who’s working on the Pasco roadway project. “If you let a road go too far, it becomes much more expensive from there, so we give them a plan to get them the most out of their roads for the least dollars spent.”
Interestingly, failed roadways fall to the bottom of the list, Adumuah said.
“The first road to fix is not the one that is in the worst shape, it’s the one that is getting to be in the worst shape, because the one that is in the worst shape is always going to be in the worst shape,” Adumuah said. “Without this data, we can’t see that.”
Local governments in other states have also partnered with IMS to help manage and maintain its infrastructure.
The road survey program is currently being used in California, New Jersey, Washington and Canada, too.
Vierow said the procedure provides more reliable data and removes the subjectivity of which roads and right of way assets need to be fixed.
Because of that, Vierow suggested that more city, county and state governments will be using the technology in coming years.
He said the technology allows the county to make informed decisions, “instead of just going out willy nilly and picking out roads that look bad, like, ‘Yeah, this parking lot needs to be redone.”
Surveying on roads will occur 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The IMS collection vehicle will travel at normal speeds while recording road surface data; however, data collection below the roadway will involve traffic control and single-lane closures.
Published July 03, 2019