Monday, July 6, 2020

Bellevue Pavement Condition Study and Maintenance Plan

A comprehensive pavement study and maintenance plan for Village roads was presented at the May 27 Village Board meeting. Over the next several weeks we will be highlighting the procedures used in our review, the findings of our roadway conditions, and recommendations for future roadway maintenance and paving. The study memorandum and presentation can be found here: Link

The Village has approximately 71.58 certified miles of public streets under its jurisdiction. Almost all Village streets are asphalt roadways. Maintaining streets in good repair requires a combination of scheduled maintenance activities and timely capital improvements to protect the investment of tax dollars. This provides a sustainable transportation system for residents and businesses, safely transporting goods and services within and through our community.

Part 3 – Road Maintenance Costs
Last week we reviewed Bellevue’s current pavement ratings in detail. The key takeaways of

Bellevue’s pavement ratings are as follows:
1. The percent of pavements below a “7”. Roads rated “7” and above can be maintained cost-effectively with scheduled crack filling. Pavements rated below “7” typically need a more aggressive maintenance treatment.
2.The percent of pavements below a ”5”. Roads rated “4” and lower are in poor condition and generally considered “too far gone” to apply cost effective maintenance treatments. These roads require a higher cost capital paving project, either a mill and overlay, or a full depth pavement replacement.

Of the 71 miles of roadways in Bellevue, over 34 miles of roadways are in need of maintenance and over 20 miles require a capital project for paving or reconstruction.
Now that we have identified the areas of concern for our roadways, we can now review the best ways to maintain our roadways to get more life out of our pavements.

Asphalt roadways have specific maintenance activities that should be completed on a schedule to extend the useful life.  The following schematic shows what a cost-effective approach to maintaining pavements may look like.

As can be seen in the exhibit, the goal of preventive maintenance is to keep pavements around the “good/fair” boundary line (PASER rating of 7). Keeping pavements in this range allows for cost-effective maintenance activities such as crack filing, spot patching, and sealcoating to stretch the life of pavements.

The longer these types of maintenance activities can be effective for our roadways, the longer we can push out paving projects and any associated assessments to property owners. We will focus on our primary approach this week.

Crack filling
Crack filling pavements with minor cracking (the centerline crack and cross cracks every 50 feet or so) can maintain pavement in the good category. Crack filling should be planned every 5 to 7 years depending on the extent of cracking. If a road is cracking sooner than expected, it is imperative to fill the cracks as soon as possible, not wait for the scheduled year.

A review of crack filling records in Bellevue shows a good effort has been made for the initial crack filling of new pavements, but crack filling is inconsistent after that point.  Many pavement sections have only been crack filled once, which has shown to be insufficient. This effort does prolong deterioration for a few years, but another round of crack filling along with spot patching and sealcoating could keep pavements smoother and lasting much longer.

Approximately $50,000 has been budgeted in recent years for crack filling. Staff recommends doubling this budget to $100,000 for the next few years to catch up on our pavements.

To increase the crack filling budget by $50,000 would cost property taxpayer less than 5 cents per $1,000 assessed in value. This equates to less than $10 for the owner of average homeowner in Bellevue. But the payback is pushing out expensive assessments for owners several years if a good maintenance plan is followed.

Crack filling is just one of the activities to use in our effort for better pavements. Next week we will look at asphalt patching and sealcoating maintenance options for our village streets.
We welcome your feedback and comments!