Photo by Travis Rains.
KINGMAN – Interim City Manager Jim Bacon told Council that Kingman’s streets are in bad shape, and without a significant increase to investments in pavement management, they will become drastically worse.
Street Saver, a pavement preservation software, monitors almost 500,000 lane miles of pavement. Kingman has about 434 lane miles and has a pavement condition index (PCI) of 44 out of 100, while similar cities average 64. That puts the City in the 25 percentile.
The City has averaged about $800,000 a year for pavement management over the past decade. If that were to change, and Kingman invested $1.5 million each year throughout the next 10 years, Kingman’s PCI could still drop into the 30s.
City staff and Bacon recommend increasing pavement management investments to $4.5 million each year, which was important to note because budget discussions will begin in May, Bacon said.
The one-half percent sales tax increase designated for pavement preservation is expected to bring in about $3.1 million a year. Tina Moline, City finance director, told Council at its April 3 meeting that she believes the projection will be met.
Councilman Travis Lingenfelter asked if a city could reach a “point of no return” when it comes to streets. Bacon responded by saying he wasn’t sure about a point of no return, but that it could become increasingly difficult for street issues to be corrected.
“I think that the system in Kingman has been allowed to go on with minimum amount of investment for so long that returning to a period of investment similar to what we had the last decade would make it very difficult to recover,” Bacon said.
Vice Mayor Jen Miles commented that Kingman is in the bottom quartile among its peers, which is not a good place to be, and Bacon agreed.
He explained, using information provided by Jack Plaunty, street department superintendent, that properly maintaining streets requires performing maintenance on those that remain in good condition. Once a street begins to fall apart, it is no longer preventative maintenance, but various levels of treatment, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Bacon stated that starting maintenance and preservation early makes economic sense.
“Preventative maintenance is typically applied to pavements in good condition, having significant remaining useful life,” Bacon said. “So the pavement management program isn’t for the street that needs rebuilt, it’s for the street that’s literally a couple years old.”
The longer a street goes without maintenance, the more expensive it becomes to treat. While preventative maintenance like crack and fog seal could cost between 80 cents and $1.50 per square yard, fully reconstructing a road built 25 years ago would cost anywhere from $30 to $100 per square yard.
Council took the first step to contributing more to pavement management by approving a street division request for $700,000 from the TPT pavement preservation fund to the streets pavement preservation account.
“When you first came here, you commented to me that you thought that the biggest, most critical issue our city was facing was the condition of our roads,” Councilwoman Jamie Scott Stehly directed to Bacon. “Do you still feel that way?”
“Absolutely,” Bacon said.