Next year’s paving plan

Sixteen streets and alleys are slated for resurfacing during Marietta’s 2014 asphalt paving program. Roadways in all four wards have been selected for paving next year at a cost of more than half a million dollars.

Rick and Ashley Schaad recently moved into the Brentwood Street neighborhood, about a block from the intersection with Glendale Road where a huge pothole has developed.

“A lot of people live on Brentwood and there’s a lot of traffic through here, but that pothole is just horrible,” Ashley said. “Everyone complains about it. So I’m glad to know they’re going to pave this road.”

Rick agreed. A former Harmar Hill resident, he said it took the city several years to resurface the streets in his neighborhood.

“We lived on Bellevue Street, and it was always the last street on the hill to be paved,” he said.

Veronica Plaugher lives in the 500 block of Charles Street in the south end of Marietta. The deteriorated street received the lowest condition rating of all 16 roadways to be paved next year.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years and lived in this neighborhood since 1964, but I can’t remember this street being paved in all that time,” she said.

A large section of broken pavement in front of her home has been filled with gravel.

“We put the gravel in every time we’ve needed it,” Plaugher said. “This street is in bad shape, so it’s about time.”

Marietta City Council recently approved the grant application for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to cover the lion’s share of the $540,000 asphalt paving program for 2014. City engineer Joe Tucker said there’s a method for choosing which roadways will be resurfaced each year.

“Every two years we have a complete inventory of the city’s streets and alleys. The most recent done by JG3 Consulting LLC of Heath, Ohio,” he said.

Tucker said the company does a completely independent review of the city streets using Micropaver, a computerized program that assigns a pavement condition index (PCI) rating to each roadway based on condition data entered by JG3 workers. The PCI ratings run from 0 to 100.

“They drive all 88 miles of streets and break each street into sections, then assess those areas by determining if there is any deterioration, cracks, rutting or other issues,” Tucker said, adding that the information is then entered into the Micropaver program which calculates the roadway’s PCI.

He noted the Micropaver program was originally developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and has been adopted by many municipalities and other government agencies across the nation.

“We put the program in place for Marietta in 2006, and have used it as a tool for our annual paving programs ever since,” Tucker said.

He said one of the biggest advantages of Micropaver is that it provides a totally independent assessment of the condition of city streets that can be tracked by the engineering department from year to year.

“There’s also no local bias. This is a completely independent tracking of streets conditions,” Tucker said.

Micropaver also provides a composite PCI average of the city’s entire streets network that Tucker can use to see if the overall condition of streets is improving or declining over a period of years.

An overall average PCI rating of 70 is considered good for a city’s roadways.

“Marietta’s average started at 66 around 2005, and now we’re at 68,” Tucker said. “I would like to see that average increase into the mid 70s.”

Charles Street received a PCI rating of 20 on the 2014 paving list. The second-lowest rating on that list, a PCI of 27, was given to City Hall Lane, the alley to the east of Marietta’s City Hall that runs between Putnam and Scammel streets.

“Praise the Lord,” Tina McFann said of the news that the alley is to be paved as she and husband Alan walked the alley to their car nearby.

The McFanns operate a cleaning business and had just completed some work Sunday in the Kremer building at the corner of City Hall Lane and Putnam Street.

“This alley is really in bad need of repair,” Alan said. “And when it rains there’s so much water you can’t tell where the potholes are.”

He noted the parking lots for several businesses on Fourth and Third streets are accessed from the alley, and Marietta City Police and fire department vehicles, as well as Washington County Sheriff’s cruisers use the alley regularly.

“I would imagine it’s pretty rough for people entering and leaving the O’Neill Center lot at the far end of the alley, too,” Tina added.

Tucker said the PCI ratings are just part of the consideration when the city decides which streets will be resurfaced during each year’s paving program.

“We always try to take a mix of streets,” he said. “If we just took care of the streets with a lower PCI rating, our streets with middle or higher ratings would begin to deteriorate to the point that we’d never catch up.”

Tucker said streets in the 50 to 55 PCI range are also targeted because Micropaver data shows roadways at that level will begin to deteriorate more quickly than at higher ratings.

“It’s much more expensive to repair a street that has a rating in the 20s, although we do some of those every year,” he said. “But at the 50s PCI level those streets conditions can usually be addressed with surface treatment.”

Another factor in determining which streets are included in each year’s resurfacing program is grant funding. The city applies to the Ohio Public Works Commission every year for grant monies to offset local funding required for the paving program.

Tucker explained that the grants are awarded on a point basis, and including certain streets-like those most-traveled or in need of safety improvements-helps increase the number of points the city receives, and the more points the better the chance of obtaining the grant funding.

The city applied for the 2014 asphalt paving program grant funding earlier this month.

“That funding would include $400,000 from OPWC with a $140,000 match from the city,” Councilman Denver Abicht, streets committee chairman, recently explained.

He said $35,000 of the city’s match will come out of the annual Community Development Block Grant entitlement. That funding will be used for installation of Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk ramps at intersections.