November 21, 2014

Nearly 40-percent of evaluated county roads in poor condition

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ARENAC COUNTY — The East Michigan Council of Governments (EMCOG), Michigan Department of Transportation and Arenac County Road Commission recently rode on 275 miles of county roads and out of that mileage, 106 miles, or roughly 38.5-percent of road surface, was reported to be in poor condition.

149 miles were said to be in fair condition, while only 20 were in good condition.

“We know they’ve (roads) been getting gradually worse,” said Arenac County Road Commission employee Robert Flick, who rode along to gather road information. “Any ones that haven’t had any work done on them will get worse.”

“Of course, we are deteriorating,” added road commission superintendent/manager Blair Dyer.

Last year, out of 321 miles rode over by the three entities, the report shows 78 miles to be poor. Also in 2008, 126 miles were rated fair and 117 were rated good.

However, comparing the two years can be difficult, since Flick says different roads are evaluated each year.

Anamika Laad, program manager for transportation, land use and GIS for EMCOG, says the PASER (Pavement Surface and Evaluation Rating System) is used to rate stretches of county roads on a scale from one to 10.

“One to four is poor, five, six, seven is fair and eight, nine, 10,” is good,” Laad said. “New construction… is a 10, and the next year it goes down to nine.”

However, the changing of the year doesn’t necessarily mean the road will continue to see a lower rating, Laad explained.

“It might stay at eight for six years. It might go between seven and eight if it’s fixed properly,” she said.

But when a road is rated poor, she says it usually means it’s time to look at reconstruction.

“If it’s a three, then generally the base is bad,” Laad said. “A one is actually where the road is coming off the base and you can see the base. There’s hardly any blacktop.”

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