Bloomfield Hills improves road ratings

December 13, 2019

Road maintenance and overlay activities in Bloomfield Hills have helped to raise the city's overall road ratings from at or close to "poor" to "good" under the state's Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) system, city manager David Hendrickson informed city commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday, December 10.

"As part of our master plan, the city commission direction has been to work toward the goal of improving road infrastructure. In 2016, we looked at our PASER rating, as required to do under ACT 51, and our rating was 3.7 overall."

The PASER scale is a 1-10 rating system for road pavement conditions that gauges the quality of roads, with treatment recommendations assigned at each level. Under the rating system, roads rated 1-2 are failing; 3-4 are poor; 5-6 are fair; 7-8 are good; and 9-10 are excellent. The rating system is the statewide standard of pavement condition reporting adopted by the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council.

Hendrickson said the 2016 overall rating of 3.7 was about average in comparison to similar communities near Bloomfield Hills. However, he said there were some roads that were of concern, leading the city to take "an aggressive approach" to renewing those roads in the poorest conditions. He said the city commission at the time directed administration to work toward raising the PASER rating to six or higher.

Hendrickson said the city began conducting core sampling to determine the condition of the base of the road under the top layer of pavement. By conducting preservation overlay maintenance rather than a complete overlay of the roadway where appropriate, Hendrickson said the city was able to repair 14 roads that year without any bonding. He said that work raised the city's PASER rating to about 5.6 that year.

The city continued the 2016 program at an accelerated pace and was able to address 26 roads in the 2018-19 construction season, raising the PASER rating to an average of 6.8.

The presentation about road conditions was part of a broader discussion about road and infrastructure budgets.

Overall, the city is expected to have about $266,454 in carryover cash from the road construction fund at the end of the budget year ending on June 30, 2020. The city's road millage provided about $932,000 to the fund, while the city's general fund contribution was $350,000. Major road projects completed during the current fiscal year include work on Country Club, Hickory Grove, Whysall and Endicott.

"There are still roads that need work," Hendrickson said. "That work is up to the city commission and I think it's up to them to decide and is appropriate during upcoming budget talks."

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