INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Vans equipped with cameras are roving Indianapolis streets to create a comprehensive inventory to help city leaders better direct money to repair roads and sidewalks.
The city is spending $2 million on the project and has hired contractors to survey all 3,200 linear miles of city streets, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported ( ).
The mobile mapping vans used by Dayton-based Wollpert LLP use cameras linked to a GPS system to capture images and locations of signs, as well as the locations of sidewalks. The images are later analyzed and the information stored in a database.
A device equipped with lasers attached to the van's front bumper determines the road's roughness as the van travels at posted speeds, and two cameras on the rear of the van capture images of the pavement every 20 feet.
A company based in Denmark will assess the pavement conditions, and an expert will assign condition ratings on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being perfect.
That rating system is a change for the city. The city's current pavement-management system doesn't include every side street, and the condition ratings are on a scale of one to three. Most counties use a scale of one to 10, while state highway departments and many cities use the one to 100 scale, said John Haddock, associate professor of civil engineering at Purdue University.
Indianapolis Director of Public Works Lori Miser said any score under 40 will be considered failing.
The data-collection process is expected to take the rest of this year. Findings will help the city prioritize repairs under Rebuild Indy, the $425 million infrastructure program created from the 2010 sale of the water and sewer utility to Citizens Energy Group.
The assessment is being paid for with money from Rebuild Indy and the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program.
Even with Rebuild Indy, the city won't have enough money to upgrade every street, or even all of those with scores under 40, Miser said.
Haddock said instead of trying to fix the worst roads first, it's more efficient to set a system-wide average as the target and use a combination of maintenance and repairs to reach or maintain that average.
Mayor Greg Ballard has said he doesn't plan to spend all of Rebuild Indy's $425 million on basic infrastructure. He would like to reserve some money for public-private partnerships that "could change the face of the city."
The city had spent $195 million of the funds through the end of 2011.
Department of Public Works spokeswoman Kara Brooks said the city will spend $33 million this year on street repairs alone and expects to spend a total of $140 million when curbs, sidewalks, bridges and storm water systems are included.
That's up from about $10 million a year for street repairs and another $2 million to $3 million for sidewalks, curbs and ramps before the Rebuild Indy project was created.
Leigh Evans, a resident and executive director of the Mapleton-Fall Creek Community Development Corp., said she hopes the new street inventory helps her explain to residents why one block might be chosen for repairs while another is bypassed.
"If there is additional information I can share with people — this is the comprehensive system, and this is the criteria for how priorities will be established — I think people are open to hearing it," she said.
Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal,Tags: