City engineer: Goshen's roads in rough shape

·5 min read

Nov. 30—GOSHEN — More than 63% of the city's roads are currently in poor condition, according to a pavement management plan adopted by the Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety Monday afternoon.

During the meeting, board members approved the city's 2021 pavement management plan, an annual report on the condition of city roadways that is needed in order for the city to be eligible for the state's Community Crossings matching grant program. While the plan itself is updated annually, evaluation of the city's streets takes place every other year.

The report summarizes the condition of the city's roadway network using the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system, or PASER. Streets are ranked on a scale of 1-10 based on the number and type of defects, such as cracks and surface depressions.

Roads with PASER ratings of 8-10 are considered in good condition and require only routine maintenance, roads with a PASER rating of 5-7 are considered in fair condition and require preventative maintenance, while roads with a PASER rating of 0-4 are considered in poor condition and require structural improvements.

Per the report, which was presented by city engineer Josh Corwin, slightly more than 92 miles of road ranked in the 0-4 range, out of the 145.5 total roadway miles under the city's jurisdiction.

Close to 31 miles were ranked in the 5-7 range, while about 22 miles were ranked in the 8-10 range. Taken together, the average rating per lane mile for the city's roadway network is 4.49.

According to Corwin, it would cost the city about $47 million to complete all of the recommended road improvements, which is down from the approximately $52 million calculation provided in the 2020 report.

The report notes that it is much cheaper to maintain roads already in good condition than it is to restore roads that require high cost reconstruction. As an example, it was reported that the recommended crack sealing for the city's 22.4 miles of roads ranked in the 8-10 range would cost about $8,000 per mile, while the full reconstruction recommended for the city's 29.3 miles of roads ranked in the 1-2 range would cost about $1 million per mile.

According to Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman, the city typically only has about $500,000 per year to put toward roadway repairs, though he noted that Goshen Street Commissioner David Gibbs and his team at the Goshen Street Department have been getting increasingly proficient at stretching those dollars to maximize their impact.

"We get a lot more done than we used to," Stutsman said. "David's team, and the street department, they're able to do quite a bit for us now, and also contracting out, so trying to make the money stretch and go as far as possible. And our in-house paving team is getting really good at it, but unfortunately there's a state law that only allows ... we can't go over $250,000 for the paving. They want us hiring the contracted firms outside of that, even though we can do it for a fraction of the price."

Given the challenges facing the city, Corwin said he and his team are planning on taking a number of steps in 2022 to try and improve the city's road network.

"First of all, we're looking to implement a software that helps us to manage these things and better track our data that we get from past reports, and then better provide us projections of what the best course of treatment is in the future so we can apply this to the roads and try to optimize the value we get for our dollars spent," Corwin said of his plans. "And then the second thing we're looking to do is also bring in an asset manager that was approved by council to kind of manage this process."

As for what may be in store for the city's roadway system next year, a breakdown of the various projects planned includes:

RECONSTRUCTION

—Jefferson Street from Third Street to Main Street

—Dykstra Street from 22nd Street to 29th Street

—Hickory Street from Summer Avenue to Dewey Avenue

MILL/PAVE

—College Avenue from 15th Street to the railroad

—Madison Street from Main Street to U.S. 33

—Berkey Avenue from Dewey Avenue to Greene Road

—Homeacres Drive from Colonial Manor Drive to Greene Road

—Edgewood Drive from Bashor Road to Homeacres Drive

—Various sections of Clover Trails

Additionally, a number of concrete paving projects have also been planned for 2022. They include: Kentfield Drive, Haywood Court, Woodstone Court, Brookstone Court, Garland Drive, Canton Drive, Elmhurst Court, Ashton Court and Winstead Drive.

"We're doing our best," Stutsman added of the city's efforts to keep up with the significant amount of needed road work. "We hit North Goshen and East Goshen pretty hard this year, and we're going to be moving into other areas of Goshen next year to make sure that we're continually hitting all of the city with these projects."

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, board members:

—Approved the hiring of Aaron Lower, David Stump and Anthony Reese as probationary patrol officers with the Goshen Police Department.

John Kline can be reached at john.kline@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240315. Follow John on Twitter @jkline_TGN.

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