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Case Study: Tupelo, MS - Public Works Plans Paving Push
by Caleb Bedillion - Daily Journal | Sep 27, 2018
By: Caleb Bedillion - Daily Journal
TUPELO – With the Tupelo City Council’s appropriation of an additional $1 million in road paving money, Public Works is already prepping a packed paving calendar next year.
By the time spring 2018 comes around and paving season kicks into higher-than-ever gear, the Tupelo Public Works Department plans to launch a new digital tool that will enhance its ability to monitor road conditions and identify streets most in need of maintenance.
“We’ve got a lot going on,” said Public Works Director Chuck Williams. “Overall, I think we’re in really good shape.”
Earlier this summer, the City Council approved plans by Public Works to adopt a software package called StreetSaver.
That digital system will replace the current maintenance methods: Williams and his department annually inspect the city’s 700-some-odd streets and assign each one a numerical rating from 5 – the best – to 1 – the worst.
All these ratings are manually tracked using spreadsheets and updated upon each year’s inspections.
StreetSaver will allow for expanded field notes and will automate some of the process while still allowing flexibility and discretion.
The city has hired engineering firm Civil Link to help roll out the new digital program at a sticker price of $75,000.
Civil Link is conducting a field survey of Tupelo’s public streets. That survey involves a detailed examination and notations of road conditions. All these notations will be electronically archived by StreetSaver.
“That’s going to take a little while,” Williams said.
Using the archived field notations, StreetSaver will project how road conditions will continue to degrade or change over time. Public Works can continue, however, to input new conditions or changes that may arise on a road.
The SteetSaver program can, upon command, produce a prioritized list of streets for maintenance efforts, including full overlays and more low-cost efforts such as sealants.
Williams said one small snag has occurred. The city’s geographic information system, a digital mapping program, will need to be modified so that it can communicate properly with the StreetSaver system. Those modifications are underway right now, according to Williams.
Williams already had in hand a priority list for the paving season that begins next year. However, he expects that StreetSaver will be up and operational by the spring and he’ll consult that as well.
Indeed, with an additional $1 million worth of paving money next year, Williams anticipates that he’ll be able to exhaust his paving list and begin a transition to a list fully generated by StreetSaver.
“I do anticipate StreetSaver being in play next year,” Williams said. “We’re going to phase my list out.”