Comprehensive Pavement Study Finds Lake Lure's Town-owned roads in Fair to Poor Condition

Study recommends that the Town commit to resurfacing approximately 1.8 miles of street segments per year to reach an optimum fifteen year paving cycle 

Identified as a priority during the Capital Improvement Plan process and later approved for funding during the annual budget discussions,  the Town of Lake Lure has received the results of a comprehensive study of Lake Lure's approximately 27.5 miles of owned and maintained roads.

About 72 percent or 20 of the 27.5 miles of the rated streets in the Town need some level of routine maintenance or resurfacing.  According to the study, completed by LaBella Associates of Charlotte, NC., this figure is above the average for North Carolina municipalities, which is approximately 47 percent.  

Called a "Pavement Condition Survey," it provides a GIS-linked pavement condition rating for the Town.  The survey involved riding each segment of Town-owned and maintained streets, observing and quantifying pavement distresses in addition to the collection of physical inventory data.

A condition rating was then calculated for each street based on major distress and street classification.  Recommended maintenance activities and estimated costs by activity were also established. 

Overall, having this information in hand will allow the Town to prioritize street improvement and repair projects by need and will help improve future capital improvement budgeting, said Mayor Kevin Cooley. 

Even before completion of the study, the current Town Council increased the allocation to street paving to approximately $185,000.  Historically, there has been only $68,000 budgeted for street maintenance.

The current findings indicate that Lake Lure's street system is in fair to poor condition with an overall weighted average pavement condition rating (PCR) of 64.3. According to the study, this overall condition rating is below average when compared to other municipalities. 

To put the figure in perspective, the estimated weighted pavement condition rating value for North Carolina municipalities is approximately 80.

In Lake Lure there are streets that exhibit moderate and severe cracking, known as "alligator" cracking.  The study recommends that those street segments that exhibit more than 50 percent of moderate to severe alligator cracking should be analyzed  further and possibly be considered for total reconstruction.

The study also maintains that the primary needs for Lake Lure's roads focus on patching and resurfacing to correct the moderate to severe alligator cracking and moderate block cracking. Based on the results of LaBella's study, approximately 5.86 miles or 21.3 percent of the rated street system is recommended for resurfacing within the next year. 

Resurfacing as well as other maintenance needs are determined based on the pavement distress, its severity level, and the traffic volume (low or high) of the street. Recommended maintenance activities are detailed in the report in table 8 on page 13 of the report.

Once these immediate needs are addressed, LaBella recommends that the Town of Lake Lure resurface approximately 1.8 miles of street segments per year.

This will provide the generally accepted optimum 15-year paving cycle. Such a cycle will allow the Town to maximize the effectiveness of its maintenance funds by providing for timely resurfacing of streets before they deteriorate to a point where more expensive rehabilitation or reconstruction is needed.

It is LaBella's recommendation that this year's street maintenance funds be allocated to include resurfacing and high priority routine maintenance, primarily full-depth patching.

The report indicated a total estimated need for full-depth patching and plant mix resurfacing of just under $2.4 million. This represents an average estimated expenditure of approximately $85,000 per mile for the entire rated Town street system.

The report notes, however, that this cost estimate is just for pavement repair only. Additional costs of 25-40 percent can be incurred for drainage improvements, administration, milling (prior to resurfacing), utility adjustments, work zone traffic controls, and other items.

Without a continued financial commitment and dedicated funding for street maintenance and resurfacing efforts, LaBella's report states that the pavement ratings will continue to decrease. Postponing recommended maintenance activities leads to pavement failures and subsequently costly major rehabilitation or reconstruction.

However, the report also states that spending a little on pavement preservation now can also eliminate or delay more costly spending on rehabilitation or reconstruction at a later date.