Switch to pavement management system helps city identify failing roads

Published  9:59 PM HST Feb 04, 2013
Pavement Condition Report
HONOLULU -

A Pavement Condition Report issued by the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance in December shows the sad state of Oahu’s roadways.

According to the report, 56.63 percent of all city roads are considered adequate. However, 15.59 percent of roads are degraded, while 27.78 percent are unsatisfactory.  That means 43.37 percent of all city roads are near, or below acceptable standards.

“It's the source of many complaints and issues the public raises, so it's not something that we were really surprised about,” said Ross Sasamura, the Facility Maintenance director.

The DFM report is the result of the city’s new pavement management system, which rates city roads from zero to 100 based on their current condition.  Roads that score zero to 55 are considered “unsatisfactory,” while those that score 56 to 70 are said to be “degraded.” Any road with a score of 71 to 100 is deemed “adequate.”    

The average score for city roads currently stands at 70.59. The goal of the program is to have all city roads average a score of 80, while no single road falls below 60.

“It appears to be a lofty goal, but I think it's something that's achievable within the next three to four years,” said Sasamura.

The mapping of all 3,517 lane-miles of city-owned roads on Oahu was accomplished during the final five months of last year using an earthmine© vehicle with high-definition cameras. The contract with Sam O. Hirota, Inc. cost the city $1 million.  

Whether the program succeeds depends largely on consistent funding, and lots of it. The current city budget sets aside $100 million for road repair and refurbishment, a level Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration has pledged to maintain, or even surpass.

“But even that isn't sufficient to catch-up on all the backlog of roads that we've neglected over the years,” said City Council Chairman Ernie Martin. “We'll wait to see what the mayor offers in terms of his budget, but at the minimum we would expect $100 million.”  

In order for the program to work, earthmine© vehicle mapping must be done every one to two years. Martin says there’s support on the Council to continue the mapping in regular intervals.

“I think it gives us a good gauge in terms of where we're at and where we need to invest our resources,” said Martin, “especially for those roads that have been identified as critically in need of repair.”

Another advantage of the pavement management system is that it allows the city to test different materials and treatments on roads in need of repair. Since all city roads are closely monitored, it’s easier to identify which materials holdup best over time

“With an electronic piece of equipment that's programmed to make certain assessments, I think we have more consistency (and) more reliable data,” said Sasamura.

The DFM report is available by clicking on the following link: http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-133692/D-0008%2813%29.pdf

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