Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
Dan White, program director for IMS Infrastructure Management Services, briefed City Commissioners and the public on the results of a recently completed study on the condition of the city’s streets and roads at the July 2, 2019 Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) Regular Meeting.
The good news is that the condition of the city’s pavements is very good, scoring 72 out of 100 on a national Pavement Condition Index (PCI). A passing grade is considered to be 60-62. White emphasized the need to continue funding at a level where good streets and roads can continue at that higher level, while enough money is available to keep the backlog of failing pavements at a low level. Only 6 percent of the city’s pavements are considered failing, whereas the national average is closer to 12 percent. But he added that many roads are at the low end of passing and could soon fall into the category of failing.
White said that in studying the amount of pavement in the city, the condition of the pavement, and the current PCI score, the city should be spending between $300K-800K on road maintenance each year to maintain the asset at its current level. Today the city spends over $325K per year on its paving efforts. The consultant suggested if possible increasing that budget to $550K to help reduce the backlog of poor streets.
The consultant’s recommendations included:
- Maintaining a PCI of 73 or higher
- Keeping the backlog of failing roads below 12 percent
- $350K annual budget for paving should be viewed as a bare minimum
- Pushing the budget toward $550K will enable the city to extend the life of its roads over 10 years time
White said that the road system is the second largest asset the city maintains. Taking care of the roads, he said, is like changing the oil on your car. If you keep up with routine maintenance the roads and the car will last longer. Lighter weight treatments are more cost effective and less inconveniencing to drivers and property owners than full reconstructions
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.