Grosse Pointe Farms gets funding to rate road conditions

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 6, 2019

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Grosse Pointe Farms will be getting state funding to take a closer look at its roads this spring.

The Farms was one of several communities chosen to receive a portion of $60,000 in state funding through the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments for the purpose of road evaluation and road asset management planning.

Other municipalities receiving funding include Berkley, Clinton Township, Hamtramck, Huntington Woods, Inkster, Lake Orion, Melvindale, Northville, Pontiac, Richmond, South Lyon, St. Clair and Ypsilanti. Altogether, the program will allow for 850 miles of local streets to be analyzed, SEMCOG officials said.

City Manager Shane Reeside said the idea behind the program is not only to determine the condition of all 34 miles of roadway in the city, but also to plan for long-term road needs based on those conditions.

“I think it’s going to be a very good tool,” Reeside said.

The SEMCOG program will rate all of the roads using the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system, better known as PASER. Reeside said the Farms does evaluate its road conditions annually, but this will be a more comprehensive study.

“Good asset management starts with an accurate assessment of the condition of existing infrastructure,” Kathleen Lomako, executive director of SEMCOG and vice chair of the Michigan Infrastructure Council, said in a press release. “Whether communities are collecting data for the first time or supplementing an existing road assessment program, SEMCOG is here to support best practices.”

The Farms spends roughly $500,000 each year on road resurfacing, Reeside said. While many municipalities had to suspend or reduce their road programs during the Great Recession, he said the Farms was able to continue its roadwork, which benefited the city because the greater the level of deterioration, the greater the cost to remedy it.

Even so, the Farms, like other aging communities, faces its share of challenges.

“We’re able to keep up with our road replacement program, but overall, our roads are getting older and costs have increased pretty substantially over the last couple of years for road resurfacing,” Reeside said.

He said the city anticipates using its own engineers to evaluate the roads using the PASER scale and then being reimbursed for the expense by SEMCOG. Reeside said road conditions will be assessed this spring.

“Winters can be brutal on Michigan roads,” he said. “We like to do (road) evaluation in early spring.”