Traverse City News and Events

Area Roads Get Worse Grade

Feb. 13, 2020

If our roads seem to be getting worse, it’s not your imagination. An evaluation of roads in the ten-county area of northwest lower Michigan shows that 40 percent are in poor condition, up from 35 percent in 2018. In Grand Traverse County, 140.284 miles of federal aid-eligible road were graded as poor, 112.731 as fair, and 108.805 as good. That works out to 38.77 percent poor, 31.15 percent fair and just over 30 percent good.

Staff members from county road commissions, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and Networks Northwest drove on over 2,800 miles of federal-aid-eligible roads in the ten-county region in 2019 to complete the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER). Federal-aid-eligible roads are defined as highways on the Federal-aid highway system and all other public roads not classified as local roads or rural minor collectors. The PASER system is a visual method for evaluating the condition of roads and rating them on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being poor and 10 excellent.

The Transportation Asset Management Council groups the scale into three categories: 1-4 is poor, 5-7 is fair, and 8-10 is good. The largest single amount in any numerical rating in Grand Traverse County was 93.812 miles rated at 4, while the next largest was 60.475 miles, which were rated an 8.

Roads evaluated as good typically require only routine maintenance such as street sweeping, drainage clearing, shoulder grading, and crack sealing. Roads with a fair rating can be managed with preventive maintenance measures that address pavement problems before structural integrity is severally impacted. Roads rated poor require structural improvements like resurfacing or major reconstruction.

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