At a recent Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting city leaders approved a contract to where Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon would conduct a roadway condition assessment for the city later this year.
The assessment would be of all streets and roads Kingsport is responsible for, roughly 500 miles, and would not include roads owned and maintained by the state or federal government.
The cost of the agreement with BWSC is $270,000 with the bulk of the money going towards the equipment used to assess the condition of the roads.
“The bulk of the money goes towards a specialized vehicle that costs way more than we need to invest,” explains Ryan McReynolds, assistant city manager for operations. “It will drive every city road, shooting radar down on the roadway and assessing its condition and determining cracks.
“It will basically tell you where each segment of the roadway lands on the road scale.”
The mapping vehicle is expected to hit the road in August and once the data is collected, BWSC will take that and create a master roadway plan for the city sometime in late fall or early winter. McReynolds said the city will then use this plan as guidance for its sustainable paving program, which will likely launch in the spring of 2017.
“A secondary benefit is the survey will capture the assets we own that are not currently in our GIS system, like sidewalks, curbe lines and catch basins,” McReynolds said. “It's going to scribe that, populate GIS and create better asset management for the city.”
Kingsport officials have said for years the city needs a sustainable paving program, where every street in town is paved every 20 to 25 years, at a cost of roughly $2.1 million each year. To come up with this money, Kingsport officials decided to apply the revenue generated from a recently renegotiated power franchise agreement with AEP.
Under this new agreement, AEP is projected to pay Kingsport $3.79 million with 80 percent recommended to go towards the maintenance of right of ways.
The plan is for the city to have a sustainable paving program within the next four years, McReynolds said going from $1.35 million this year to $2.1 million in year four. Under old funding levels roads in failure mode were getting the most attention with the typical roadway being repaved on a 60-plus-year cycle.
“One of the most important parts of this is we're going to have a very transparent plan for the public to see, where we're going and why,” McReynolds said. “And this is the most cost effective way to get a complete survey of our roadway system and index it in the most objective way.”