Goshen adopts pavement management plan

Elkhart Truth file photo 

GOSHEN — Street paving in 2018 will mean $2 million less in maintenance costs in the future, the Goshen Board of Works heard Monday.

The board approved the 2019 Pavement Management Plan, which rates the condition of roads in the city and sets out their maintenance needs. It’s a requirement for the Community Crossings grant application, which the city intends to seek from the state in January, Civil Traffic Engineer Leslie Biek told the board.

She said the latest plan reflects road work done in 2018.

“From the improvements that we made, we’re getting a little better with our ratings,” she said. “The total cost of maintenance has gone down by more than $2 million, so the hard work that we’re doing is paying off.”

She explained after the meeting that the savings represent the difference between a $42 million calculation of paving needs and a calculation of $40 million. The city rates all of its roads every two years and updates the list, along with treatment recommendations, after completing maintenance.

In other words, she said, it doesn’t reflect actual spending but what it would cost to do the work that’s needed.

“If we were to do the proper treatment to every single road in the city, last year it would cost over $42 million, and now it would cost just over $40 million,” she said. “Obviously it’s way more than we could afford to do in one year, so we’re trying to work on improving the roads and reducing that total cost estimate.”

The pavement surface rating system uses a 1-10 scale, with 10 being new asphalt, 1 being severely distressed and 5 being the minimum acceptable condition before repair is needed.

According to the plan, almost 60 percent of the 145 miles of roadway in Goshen rate 4 or below. About a third rate between 5 and 7 and less than 10 percent rate 8-10.

The plan notes that it’s cheaper to keep good- or fair-rated roads in better condition with maintenance like crack sealing than to restore a road in need of structural improvements. Roads with the worst ratings are usually in need of a full-depth pavement reconstruction.

It’s the difference between $8,000 per mile for crack sealing and $950,000 per mile for reconstruction, according to the cost summary included in the plan. About 25 miles of roadway in Goshen are in need of reconstruction.

The five-year maintenance plan includes $1.5 million worth of needs in 2020, to seal and overlay an estimated 64 miles of roadway, and $1.6 million in 2021, for an estimated 44 miles worth of work including two miles of reconstruction. The amount increases to $1.9 million in 2022 for an estimated 36 miles, including two miles of reconstruction.

Each project year takes another chunk out of the multi-million dollar figure for total needs, though Biek noted progress isn’t always steady. A year with particularly bad weather, such as a large amount of freezing and thawing, will only increase the need for maintenance.

“I would hope that we would go down again after the 2019 projects were done,” she said. “Ideally the number would go down every year, but we do have some off years. Because the roads continue to get worse at the same time.”

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