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story.lead_photo.caption Patches can be seen in the pavement Friday along Stoney Point Road in eastern Benton County. GreenbergFarrow Architecture is doing a survey of paved roads in the county, which will be used to produce a map with video of damaged areas. - Photo by Ben Goff

BENTONVILLE -- Benton County roads will get a more rigorous examination than the traditional "eyeball test" as technology is applied to the evaluation and planning process.

County Judge Barry Moehring signed a contract with GreenbergFarrow Architecture to do a video survey of 800 miles of paved roads. The company also will do an assessment of the roads in a detailed report, including identifying problem areas using geographic information system satellite mapping data. Proposals to deal with any problems also will be included.

Road work

Benton County’s paved roads will be surveyed and listed in one of six categories ranging from “excellent” roads that require no work to “reconstruct” roads requiring full-depth reconstruction of the pavement. Other conditions, from best to worst, are: good, fair, critical and lost. The categories will be assigned a color, and satellite maps of the county will show each segment of road according to the condition of the pavement.

Source: Staff report

The work by GreenbergFarrow will cost the county $65,500. GreenbergFarrow has its headquarters in Atlanta and has a Bentonville office.

The county will revise its 2017 road plan based on the information, which Moehring said should be available in the next 60 days. Some priorities could be changed as a result of the new information, he said.

"There's going to be some trade-offs," Moehring said. "One thing we're not going to do is we're not going to just 'eyeball' the roads and make subjective decisions on what work is done. We're going to make data-based decisions."

Moehring became interested in having a detailed survey and assessment of county roads done after learning of the program from other elected officials. Bella Vista had its roads studied by the company, and Mayor Peter Christie said the results were immediately useful. The city will continue to use the information, Christie said.

"We did it in 2015, and we're going to put it out for bids again this year," Christie said. "We've got 550 miles of roads. The invaluable thing is it gives us a rating or a 'color' rating of all of our roads."

The ratings show city officials which roads need the most immediate attention, since repair costs escalate as the condition of roads deteriorates, Christie said. The city approved a 1-mill tax increase, generating about $450,000 a year, to put toward street work, he said.

"This has been invaluable," Christie said. "The way it was before was basically the superintendent trying to remember the condition of the roads and make decisions based on that. It ended up being more of a squeaky wheel system rather than more of a business approach."

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Sebastian County Judge David Hudson also has used the program to have the roads in his county surveyed and assessed. Sebastian County had the work done two years ago and has made use of the results, Hudson said.

"The majority of Sebastian County's roads are paved," Hudson said. "The problem was how to allocate our money to most effectively maintain those roads."

The information gathered by GreenbergFarrow helped set up a program for maintaining its roads, Hudson said.

"It allows you to calculate allocation of money in different types of work," he said "It helps you upgrade the overall condition of all of your roads."

Pat Adams, Benton County justice of the peace and chairman of the Transportation Committee, said he's eager for the work to be done so the county can put the information to use. He said he knows some people will be disappointed if their roads aren't included among the top priorities, but the county has to put its limited resources to the best use in a systematic process based on actual road conditions.

"I'm tickled to death we're going forward with it," Adams said. "I know there's going to be people upset if we're not going to be paving 53 miles of roads this year, but it's short term. I know some people who've been told for years their road is going to be fixed and nothing has been done. Something else always comes up. This is a step in the right direction."

NW News on 02/27/2017

Print Headline: County plans road survey

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