WESTFIELD, NJ — The road rankings are out.
Officials hope that a comprehensive assessment of the condition of municipal roadways will help them to better prioritize which ones should be paved first and what treatments to apply to those roads. In October 2018, the Town Council approved $41,078 for the Arizona based Infrastructure Management Services to conduct the assessment.
The rankings released this week detail where each local road stands in the pecking order.
Dan White, client services manager for IMS, told the council Nov. 12 that through the use of sophisticated technology, his firm measures the width and depth of cracks in roadways and how bumpy the surface is and assigning a pavement condition index, or PCI, score to each road or section of roadway.
“For the most part, when the PCI is 25 and below, it requires partial or full construction or pretty heavy overlays,” White said. Scroll down to see the full study and road ranking below.
The rankings posted to the town’s website this week show that .5 of roadways of the town’s roads ranked below 25 PCI, while 20.8% of the streets ranked as in “excellent” condition.
In Westfield, 7% of the municipality’s backlog ranked with a PCI of 40 or below as compared to the national average of 12%, the survey found. Streets with a PCI of between 25 and 50, White said, are at an optimal for a thinner type of resurfacing.
“There’s a lot of benefit to selecting these streets,” he said. “At a lower cost, you can kind of keep them in decent shape for 10 to 15 years.”
By funding lighter resurfacing projects, often referred to as “micro-surfacing” or a “slurry seal,” over more extensive and expensive road reconstruction, White said, the municipality can save significantly.
“We’re not always going to be choosing the worst [road] first,” he said.
“Steady, effective rehabilitation and maintenance on an annual basis saves the town money over deferred maintenance,” White added.
A resident of Starlite Court, however, said his street hadn’t been resurfaced since 1975 and so expressed concern over the notion that roads in extreme need would not be prioritized.
“It hasn’t been touched in 44 years,” he said. Starlite Court. That road ranked with a PCI of 48, according to the study.
In a statement, the town said the roads study would play a key role in deciding what roads get paved.
“This pavement management system — the process of planning, budgeting, designing, evaluating and rehabilitating a pavement network to provide maximum benefit with available funds — will play a significant role in guiding short and long-term paving decisions by the Town Council,” the statement said.
White, however, noted that the report is not a strict guide for what decisions the council makes.
“We want to be equitable as much as possible,” he said. “Again, this is a road map. It’s not going to be followed 100%.”
The road report follows the town’s $3.7 million investment in road paving in 2019, which officials said marked quadruple the number of roads it had paved the year before.
Email Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @MattKadosh