RPB Employs New Technique To Plan Road Projects

Royal Palm Beach staff gave an update on road resurfacing plans at the April 3 meeting of the Royal Palm Beach Village Council.

Village Manager Ray Liggins said a survey was done of all the roads in the village last year. “We evaluated all of our roadways, and we’re still working with that and formulating what we need to put in the budget,” he said.

Village Engineer Chris Marsh explained that Royal Palm Beach has a total lane network of 148.7 miles. “Essentially, we take the center-lane length of the roadway and multiply it times the total number of lanes,” Marsh said. “Of those miles, collector roadways make up 22.4 miles, and local roads make up 126.3 miles.”

Marsh said a contractor made a complete video record of all the roads last year.

“They took a van and drove around,” he said. “They videoed every square foot of our roadway network and identified every single crack. Then they sat down and essentially graded the segments of roadway using a rating system developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”

The system looks at the stresses on the roads and rates them from 0 to 100 for particular segments.

“If you look at a snapshot of our current roadway system, 95 percent of our [roads] were rated fair to excellent, with 5 percent rated serious to poor,” Marsh said. “Village staff took those ratings and recommendations from that report, and we prioritized how the roads were going to be resurfaced.”

The project also evaluated how much traffic is going to be on the road segment. “If the segment was going to be used by more residents, then we saw that as higher priority to get that area resurfaced,” Marsh said.

Another consideration was grouping the road segments so they could be resurfaced efficiently. “It’s very expensive to mobilize the paving equipment,” he said, explaining that it is more cost-efficient to do an entire subdivision than just portions.

The current paving schedule will begin with Saratoga Blvd. from Lexington Drive to Derby Lane.

“We’re going to combine that project with an underground project to minimize the impacts on residents,” Marsh said. “We’re looking for that to be advertised sometime in September of this year, with construction being completed in March of next year.”

The next series of roads will be Saratoga Blvd. from Habitat Court to Lexington Drive, followed by Wildcat Way from Bell Circle to Okeechobee Blvd., and then Royal Palm Beach Blvd. from Southern Blvd. to Okeechobee Blvd., then Sweet Bay Lane from Park Road South to Sparrow Drive.

Marsh said he had not yet completed cost estimates for the capital improvements list to evaluate what the five-year plan would look like for doing those roadways.

“We looked at the stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of consumer price indices for asphalt,” he said. “From 1982 to 2004, the average increase for asphalt was about 1.8 percent; and from 2005 to 2013, we’ve seen that average annual increase at a level of 10 percent, so costs have skyrocketed, due to the costs of petroleum.”

Other factors that affect the schedule are rain and that the roads were built over a period of 40 years in a nonlinear pattern. “You had intense periods of when these roadways were constructed,” Marsh said. “That means when we come back to resurface them, 20 years later, you’re going to have these peaks of resurfacing, and then you’re going to have these valleys of resurfacing.”

Councilman Jeff Hmara said that since the roads had not yet been budgeted, there was no definite timetable for resurfacing until council members discuss the capital improvements portion of the budget.

Marsh added that going beyond five years is difficult and that extreme rain events will cause unanticipated damage to roadways.

“With the five-year plan, you can smooth out the curve where you have those intense periods of resurfacing, and we’ll look to do that,” he said.

Hmara asked that the five-year road plan be posted on the village’s web site when it is finalized.

Councilman Fred Pinto added that the five-year plan is a “perpetual” plan, meaning that another year is posted at the end of each year.

Marsh said making the videos gave the village a permanent document of the roadways.

“If we have another Tropical Storm Isaac event, we can prove to FEMA that the road was in good condition prior to that, and you can get reimbursement for that,” he said.