Pasadena Paved Roads, Ranked Lower in Quality Than Surrounding Communities, About to Get a Funding Boost

Published : Sunday, October 6, 2019 | 4:18 PM

Source: City of Pasadena

The City of Pasadena is getting up to $4.3 million per year from the state of California for a mandated Pavement Improvement Program to address deteriorating pavement conditions within the City.


This is an increase by $1.99 million from traditional yearly funding for the program, which historically has consisted of approximately $2 million per year, according to a report to be presented Tuesday to the City Council’s Municipal Services Committee.

As of the latest citywide pavement inventory conducted by the Department of Public Works, pavements on Pasadena’s 335 miles of roadway were classified with an average Pavement Condition Index (PCI) of 60, the lowest among neighboring cities in Los Angeles County.

It is even lower than the county taken as a whole, which earned a PCI of 68.

In comparison, Glendale’s PCI was at 73, La Cañada Flintridge’s was a healthy 77, and Sierra Madre’s was at 69. The PCI at the City of Los Angeles was 65, the report showed.

The PCI combines existing surveyed pavement defects, road classification, and traffic volumes as determinants, and is used to guide planners on the most cost-effective maintenance treatment method. Pavement improvement types include slurry seal, grind and resurface, and complete pavement reconstruction, according to the Public Works report.

In the past, evaluating road conditions relied heavily on subjective observations by the human eye, at least up to 2015 when the most recent windshield survey was conducted. The procedure was subject to human interpretation, with different inspectors possibly arriving at different conclusions.

These days, Public Works inspectors now use modern technology such as the Laser Road Surface Tester (RST), which drives the entire length of each roadway collecting pavement distress data and covers as much as 30 to 40 miles of data per day, or the Deflectometer, another non-invasive procedure that consists of two passes on arterial and collector roads and performs a structural analysis of the roadway.

The City’s Pavement Management Plan emphasizes that the streets of Pasadena are assets that need to be sustained, and requires investment and growth, instead of simply maintenance. The Plan is supposed to provide the City with a set of tools and methods for finding optimal strategies for maintaining the City’s streets in a serviceable condition over a given time period. The Public Works report also stresses that “timely investment in maintaining our assets today saves the City from more costly solutions tomorrow.”

The Municipal Services Committee meeting begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, at the City Council Chamber, Room S249 at City Hall.

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