Comprehensive repavement plan following a citywide assessment to be implemented; millions to be invested in public infrastructure as part of Capital Improvement Plan
August 23, 2018
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, members of the Providence City Council, and Public Works Director Michael Borg joined community members at the intersection of Gentian Avenue and Ravenswood Avenue, off of Smith Street, to mark the beginning of citywide roadwork as part of the City of Providence’s five-year capital improvement plan (CIP). Extensive roadwork will take place across the City’s 15 wards and follow a comprehensive pavement plan crafted after a thorough assessment of Providence roads.
“The citywide roadwork we are starting today will help provide local families and businesses the safe, modern and reliable roads they deserve,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “This is a needed long-term investment that will help preserve our infrastructure, reduce maintenance costs and improve our neighborhoods. From parents that drive their children to school, to businesses that rely on ground transportation to succeed, these improvements will benefit all of Providence.”
In July 2017, the Providence City Council’s Finance Committee recommended passage of the City’s CIP to the full council, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive plan that identifies and prioritizes planned improvements to public infrastructure over five years to city streets, sidewalks, public buildings, parks and recreation centers. The initial plan was approved by the full Council on August 1, 2017.
“The Council is proud to have worked with Mayor Elorza and his administration on this bold initiative,” said City Council President David A. Salvatore. “Safe roadways are one of the biggest challenges we face as a city, and this thoughtful and comprehensive plan addresses this need while investing in our future infrastructure. As Council President, I hear from constituents daily about the needs of our neighborhoods, and almost everyone I speak with is concerned with the state of our city streets and job opportunity. I believe that this investment will not only improve the quality of life for all that live in Providence but will also help create new jobs, increase our tax base, and make our City welcoming to new and existing businesses. Companies thinking of expansion or relocation need to know that there is reliable infrastructure and this plan assures that we are on the path to their success.”
The CIP is a working plan that is updated yearly and submitted to the City Council. $48.5 million worth of infrastructure projects funded by various mechanisms including a $45 million dollar infrastructure bond, the city’s general fund, the master lease and the lighting master lease were included in year one and two of the plan.
As part of the City’s long-term approach to maintain and enhance public infrastructure, in October 2017 StreetScan was selected to perform a city‐wide road condition analysis. Using specialized vehicles outfitted with an array of sensors including 2D and 3D cameras, data was gathered for assessing road distresses and overall condition rating for each road segment known as the Pavement Condition Index (PCI). PCI is an American Society for Testing and Materials standard that ranges from 0 to 100, where 0 is the worst possible road condition and 100 is the best.
At the time of completion of the scan, Providence’s Citywide PCI was 71.6, falling into the good category (PCI 70-85). The proposed paving plan would increase the PCI to 74.68, while failure to invest would result in a PCI of 69.0.
Utilizing StreetScan’s assessment, a paving plan was developed to focus work primarily on arterial and collector roadways, which generally serve as the backbone of the roadway transportation network, carrying the greatest amount of traffic and experiencing the greatest wear and tear. $20 million has been allocated toward roadway repairs in fiscal years ‘18 and ‘19, resulting in an initial list of resurfacing recommendations based on traffic volumes, PCI’s and estimated cost.
The list, crafted in collaboration with the City Council, was revised to work around planned and ongoing utility projects, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) projects, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) Downtown Transit Connector and other projects identified by the Department of Planning and Development and Department of Public Works. The DPW Highway Division also provided data on the roads where they receive the most complaints and ultimately spend the most resources.
Generally, road maintenance treatments should occur before a road reaches a 70 PCI, which can extend the life of a roadway from 5‐10 years. Once a road has degraded below a 70 PCI, a roadway is in need of more robust rehabilitation, costing more with longer construction duration. Neglecting to rehabilitate a roadway in the early stages of failure can lead to greater cost as more intrusive procedures are needed, with longer construction duration and greater disturbance to neighbors.
The paving list was developed to consider the roadway network as a City‐wide asset, to serve the greatest good to the City as a whole. Consideration was then given to include roadway segments in all wards, with proximity to other planned projects to further realize cost savings. The plan was developed utilizing unit costs realized under the $40 million bond program from 2013‐2016.