Carson City street assessment focuses on maintenance

By Lonnie Allen • Last Updated 10:25 am on Monday, July 02, 2012

CARSON CITY — Spicer Group recently presented a street assessment to the Carson City Council.

Project Manager James Ensign and Construction Services Engineer Nick Elliott attended the meeting on behalf of Spicer Group.

Ensign explained how Spicer Group could help the city use $100,000 in funding from the state for road repairs.

Carson City Administrator Mark Borden hired Spicer Group to assess the city roadways.

“We hired them to rate our streets as required by the state,” Borden said.

Spicer Group provided a complete evaluation of Carson City’s streets and roads.

“Nick actually drove Carson’s streets and rated the streets,” Ensign said.

Road repairs are divided into three categories — reconstruction, rehabilitation or maintenance. This is based on Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER). The ratings determine the treatment techniques. A PASER rating is based on a number system of 1 through 10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.

“Some cities do it themselves,” Borden said. “It is all the same software that anybody can use. You would ride around and give them a rating from 1 to 10.”

Borden recommended a few years ago to start using an outside consultant for the city.

“Basically it takes the prejudice or the bias of the decision making away from the council and myself when go to make improvements of the streets,” Borden said. “(Spicer Group) makes recommendations without any influence from me or the council.”

According to the report presented by Ensign and Elliott, 30 percent of Carson City roads are considered in the range of 4 or lower.

“Rating a 4 and below means the roads are in need of major reconstruction,” Ensign said.

According to Ensign, he can help Carson City utilize the $100,00 in cost effective ways.

“It is cheaper with preventive maintenance,” Ensign said.

The Spicer Group presentation showed city council members how the same one mile of road in a 14-year cycle would cost $150,000 if nothing was done until the road was at a 1 on the PASER rating, compared to $40,000 when it is repaired at the rating of 5, 6 and 7.

“I try to compare it to preventive maintenance on your car,” Ensign said. “You can do repairs and spend a little money or you can drive it until you need to buy a new car and spend a lot more money.”

Borden thought the presentation by Spicer Group explained how to use city funds well.

“It was very informative for the council,” Borden said. “It just kind of showed that if you do ongoing maintenance rather than repair your worst streets every year you are going to be further ahead.”

The city council will now look at the proposal and decide in the future what the next step will be.

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