Author: Schertz Magazine Staff Writers
One of the challenges a City faces is maintaining, preserving, and restoring City Streets. While Schertz regularly plans for street improvements, in 2016 the City conducted a Citizen Satisfaction Survey which ultimately reiterated the need for street repairs.
In early 2016, the City hired Infrastructure Design Solutions (IDS) to rank the City’s Pavement Condition Index (PCI), a numerical index between 0 and 100 which is used to indicate the general condition of a pavement. They also assisted City staff with prioritizing the Maintenance and Rehabilitation (M&R) of the City’s road network. IDS performed the study using a program called PAVER (a Pavement Management Program). PAVER is designed to track conditions of the roadways and can be used to estimate costs and manage road maintenance programs. City staff, who are trained by IDS, will continue to measure pavement conditions in the future to keep up with City road conditions.
The study, which can be found on the Engineering and Public Works websites, titled MicroPAVER Roadway Assessment, assists City staff in determining how and where budget funds should be utilized. The study also identified the City’s roadway network as165 centerline miles. With continued growth in Schertz, there will soon be close to 170 centerline miles of road. Also identified were the roads in need of maintenance and/or reconstruction. The software is designed to identify 20 different road distress factors (i.e. potholes, cracks, and weathering) which rank the street’s pavement condition. This provides the City with a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) score for each road. The PCI is then used to rate the condition of the pavement sections (100 ft sections) on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating better condition.
IDS and City staff used the PCI scores as a starting point to prioritize street M&R projects. In addition, the City launched a Crack Seal program (see the May issue of Schertz Magazine) with the data provided in the study.
The studies showed that the City of Schertz has a high percentage of good quality roads (demonstrated in Exhibit 1). At most, what is needed, is preventative maintenance, which is one reason why the Crack Seal program was kicked off last November and has increased the quality of various roads in the community.
As a result, the study established short and long term goals using PAVER to assist the City in determining how and where budget funds should be utilized. Looking ahead, the City is moving forward with the first set of City road reconstruction projects in the next two years. Projects will be funded with monies allocated by City Council from the sale of bonds. Because City staff were trained to use the software, PAVER can be utilized to track preventative maintenance costs and forecasting future budget needs. With the increased growth in business, residential and population growth, every 4 years the City will hire a consultant to update its Pavement Management System in order to provide an objective assessment of pavement condition citywide. Performing the study on a regular basis will help the City establish trends. The study also promotes transparency by educating the public on the decision-making process involving selection and utilization funds throughout the City.
The City has been working on various correctional and maintenance street projects that will be implemented in the near future. While some of these projects are still ways out from completion, the City has developed a plan for some much needed street improvements based off of residential feedback and continuous studies.
Other road updates include:
-On FM 1103 at IH 35, TxDOT has completed the design phase for the bridge that goes over IH 35. TxDOT has scheduled construction to begin in summer 2017 and construction will include new turnarounds and intersection operation improvements.
-In the near future, FM 1103 from IH-35 to Old Wiederstein Rd will be expanded from two to four lanes as well as the installation of medians. In addition, there will be turning lanes, sidewalks, and bike lanes. So far TxDOT has completed the environmental clearance and will be working on the Right-of-Way acquisition process (12 – 18 months) and utility relocations before they can begin construction.
-On FM 1518 from IH 10 to FM 78, programmed for 2021 at $19.5 Million, TxDOT is currently working on the surveying and conceptual design process. Strategic improvements at key intersections will be completed first. Continue to look for updates from the City regarding construction schedules, possible rerouting of traffic, updates, and more by going to Schertz.com.