Majority of Carson City roads could be in poor condition in 10 years

The majority of Carson City roads could be in seriously poor condition in 10 years.

That projection is based on money available from current funding sources for streets projects — the motor fuels tax and a 1/4-cent citywide sales and use tax — as well as current road conditions and anticipated wear and tear from traffic and weather.

“Basically, we’re falling behind every year,” said Patrick Pittenger, transportation manager, speaking Thursday at the second meeting of the Transportation Resource Advisory Forum For Carson City, or TRAFCC.

The model comes from the city’s pavement management system, which maintains an inventory of the roads and their condition, and is used to prioritize and budget for road projects.

Part of the process is to calculate road conditions based on an index, with 100 being the best and 0 being the worst.

Currently, Carson City’s 273 miles of roads are rated an average of 59, with about 68 miles in good and satisfactory condition, 166 miles in fair to poor condition, and 38 miles in very poor, serious or failed condition.

That could drop to an average of 39 on the index, with 225 miles in the latter, worst category, by 2026, according to Elie Hajj, associate professor, Pavement and Materials Program, University of Nevada, Reno.

Hajj gave a presentation on the pavement management system, which he has been working with the city on, and what he called pavement management 101 to the group comprised of residents from all four wards and representatives from a dozen or so local organizations.

Hajj said cities have to prioritize work due to cost.

“You would need close to $300 million to repave all of Carson City’s streets,” he said.

Preventive maintenance is important for extending the life of a road for less money, said Hajj, while roads that are allowed to fall into total disrepair cost five to 10 times as much to bring back into good condition.

Crack sealing, for example, a preventive maintenance measure, costs 45 cents per foot while total road reconstruction costs $4 per square foot.

Pittenger asked the group’s help in determining how to spend $250,000, available but uncommitted money after the Board of Supervisors didn’t approve a couple other projects proposed by Public Works.

“We want to know what you think we should use the $250,000 for. There are a lot of options,” he said, including reconstruction, resurfacing, crack repairs, safety improvements, sidewalk replacement or a mix of those things.

Pittenger did discuss the motor vehicle fuel tax indexing, which will be on the ballot this November.

The city can’t advocate for or against it, but he did say the Board of Supervisors recently approved the ballot question language, which would not increase the tax more than 3 cents per gallon annually.

TRAFCC is scheduled to meet monthly, in the Fuji Park expo hall, through December. The meetings are open to the public and recorded and posted on the city web site.


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