With 3,200 vehicles per day, and about a fourth of them being heavy trucks, one stretch of Stuhr Road in Grand Island needed a lot of maintenance.
"We could go ahead and spend another $150,000 to do an asphalt project on it, but if we can only get 5 or 6 years of performance out of it, we're spending $150,000 every six years for a road we know will continue to fail because of the traffic volume," says City Project Manager Scott Griepenstroh.
Instead of the $150,000 asphalt fix, Griepenstroh says the city spend more than twice that to do a concrete overlay, the first one for GI, and something that should last 20-30 years.
Now, with the help of a road surface survey crew from Infrastructure Management Services, the city hopes to make more financially sound street decisions like the one on Stuhr.
The company says lasers measure the roughness of roads while GPS systems help map potholes and other problems.
"Those lasers are detecting the cracks as we're driving down the street, so they're looking at the frequency of the cracks, how many cracks, width, depth, density of the cracks," says Kris McCourt, IMS Crew Chief.
Grand Island can use the data from IMS to craft a Pavement Management System and prioritize projects for their 300 centerline miles of streets, something city staff says is important because nationwide all levels of government are only funding about a third of the $200 billion needed to keep roads in good conditions.
"You've got a pavement that's in pretty poor condition, you know it's going to be in that same condition for the next 5-10 years, we can wait to spend money on that," says Griepenstroh. "Of course we'll hear complaints about how rough it is and how broken up it is, but we need to be wise in how we spend our monies."
The survey crew says it took them nine days to cover all of Grand Island's roads - something that would take a person walking more than a year to do.