Based on the response that I got about our infrastructure, I asked our Asset Management office to draft the following column on the rationale that staff uses to determine when a road get rehabilitated or reconstructed. Thank you to Richard Andoga for his assistance in putting this together for your information:

Asset Management involves a city-wide condition assessment of surface and subsurface assets in order to forecast and schedule appropriate rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in order to produce an annual capital budget program. The Asset Management section monitors current levels of service, life cycle trends and deterioration models, in order to plan and develop an integrated 3 to 5 year detailed budget and 20 year projected long range capital budget, to protect the City’s infrastructure investments.

In regards to road pavement assets, the City of Hamilton’s road network consists of approximately 14,000 block-to-block road segments, or approximately 6,200 lane kilometres. Although some segments may appear alike, every segment is unique in terms of locational attributes (e.g. ward, community, etc.), structural attributes (e.g. surface type, surface width, etc.), functional classes (e.g. urban local, rural collector, etc.), traffic service demands and present condition.

To maintain this complex road network and provide good serviceability to users, City of Hamilton staff utilizes the Pavement Management System software developed by Hansen Information Technologies.

The Pavement Management System stores information on pavement attributes, such as width and type, as well as detailed surface distress observations and vehicle ride comfort (roughness) data.  This information was collected through inspections performed by a consultant in 2006. Generally speaking, the consultant uses an inspection vehicle (see figure 1.0 below) and field crew to collect segment data.  Data such as attributes (e.g. length, number of lanes), surface distress observations (e.g. cracking, potholes) and ride comfort (measurements of up and down motion of vehicle) is collected along each and every segment of road in the City of Hamilton.

Detailed surface distress observations stored in the Pavement Management System are analyzed and reported as an overall SCI (Surface Condition Index) for each segment, of between 0% and 100% (0% being worst and 100% being best). Detailed ride comfort data, in the Pavement Management System, is analyzed and reported as an overall RI (Roughness Index) for each segment, also between 0% and 100%. The two ratings, SCI and RI, are then subjected to a formula which produces an OCI (Overall Condition Index) of between 0% and 100%.  Ultimately, every segment is assigned an OCI value.

City staff can then utilize the Pavement Management System to perform a “Need Year” analysis. Based on the present condition of the road network segments and their respective OCI ratings, results from this analysis recommend the year in which each segment should receive some form of treatment, and the rehabilitation activity or reconstruction activity that should be applied.

Road segments having an OCI value falling in the “dead zone”, below the rehabilitation OCI limit, but above the reconstruction OCI limit, will typically be left untreated until the road segment’s condition drops to a poor enough state to require reconstruction. Rehabilitating a road segment that has an OCI value far lower than the rehabilitation limit, would not prove to be cost-efficient.

The recommended type of rehabilitation or reconstruction activity (e.g. asphalt overlay, mill and resurface, reconstruction, etc.) selected by the Pavement Management System, is the result of an extensive, in-depth activity “Decision Model” developed by City of Hamilton staff, specifically for the City of Hamilton’s roads. The activity “Decision Model” is populated with specific criteria and conditions that guide in the determination of the best work activity to assign to a road segment.  The “Decision Model” also incorporates watermain work needs and sewer work needs in order to provide for the efficient and cost beneficial coordination of watermain, sewer and road projects.

Once the “Need Year” and recommended type of activity are determined, the “Budget Analysis” is performed. The “Budget Analysis” includes the capital budget dollars available per year, all road segments and their need year and associated work activity. Ultimately, a report is produced that indicates the segments of road that can and should be worked on, in any given year. Work projects are prioritized in a cost-effective manner.

Results of the “Budget Analysis” are used as a basis to develop an annual capital works program. Prior to committing projects to the annual capital works program, staff members perform field inspections of the recommended road projects, and ensure that optimal coordination with watermain needs and sewer needs is attained.

The Asset Management group does not solely rely on the results of the Pavement Management System. Residents’ concerns regarding the condition of road segments are always appreciated and reviewed. However, priority for road rehabilitation or reconstruction will be awarded to those roads that prove to be a safety hazard to drivers, and then those roads with the most cost-effective need from a coordinated perspective.

If you have any concerns regarding the condition of a particular segment of road, please feel free to contact:

Richard Andoga

Senior Project Manager, Infrastructure Programming,
Asset Management Division
Capital Planning and Implementation
City of Hamilton
77 James Street North, Suite 320,
Hamilton, ON L8R 2K3
Phone: 905-546-2424, ext 2431
Fax: 905-546-4435
Email: rmandoga@hamilton.ca

or

Alan Jazvac

Infrastructure Programming Technologist,
Asset Management Division
Capital Planning and Implementation
City of Hamilton
77 James Street North, Suite 320,
Hamilton, ON L8R 2K3