KINGMAN - A decade of nearly total neglect of city roads prompted the City Council to unanimously approve a nearly $51,000 pavement management study at Tuesday's meeting.
City of Kingman Streets Superintendent Jack Plaunty presented the Council with an overview of what the firm, The Barnhardt Group, will do.
If the consultant performs as promised, the roughly $50,800 expense will end up saving the city significant money in the future.
"Pavement preservation is a planned system of treating pavements to maximize the life cycle as cost effectively as possible," said Plaunty.
Such plans also help the city's public works department to make informed decisions and budget for the work required. The idea is to complete pavement maintenance early and proactively in order to control costs.
Here's why it's needed. Plaunty said there are roughly 4 million square yards of paved roads in Kingman, well more than 200 miles, but there is no current inventory of paved roads and no database with pavement conditions of those roads.
After the Great Recession gutted funding for road maintenance in 2008, the streets department did virtually nothing for roads until two chip-seal projects were completed in 2014 and last year. Those projects were done on arterial and collector streets, which carry the highest volume of traffic.
Vanishing funding has created a 13-year backlog of roads in need of maintenance and current funding does not address the backlog of roads that require maintenance, said Plaunty.
Since it seems likely revenue for roads will remain inadequate, he said maintenance is far better than rehabilitation. That means addressing issues while the pavement is still in good shape before waiting until they are in poor condition and require much more extensive repairs.
Cracksealing, for instance, is affordable and far less involved than doing a full-depth reconstruction. In fact, maintenance can save up to 65 percent over rehabilitation over the lifespan of the road.
The study, said Plaunty, will improve driver satisfaction and will save both motorists and the city money.
The consultant will inventory and inspect every paved road in Kingman and provide a "current pavement condition index" that will help Plaunty and other city staffers make an informed decision on pavement maintenance needs. The inventory also will help the city make accurate funding needs, said Plaunty.
Mayor Richard Anderson said roads were easily the city's third most important priority after fire and police services and the Council agreed, voting 7-0 to approve the survey.