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City-maintained streets are under high-tech scrutiny

Date: February 20, 2018

Friendswood streets that are maintained by the City of Friendswood are currently being evaluated by special equipment installed in a modified 15-passenger van.


Last year, City Council approved funding to hire Infrastructure Management Services to develop a plan to evaluate the current conditions of city streets. Their Road Service Tester van, which has lasers, distance measuring instruments, accelerometers and rate gyroscopes, inertial navigation-based GPS and high resolution, forward, downward and side view digital cameras, is in the process of covering every City-maintained street in Friendswood. Instruments in the van collect objective pavement surface distress data, roughness and rutting. The Road Service Tester van moves through City streets at the same speed as other cars.


Afterwards, a description is given to each section of pavement that includes a determination of where it is on a life-cycle curve. The information can be used to help prioritize and schedule future City pavement repair projects, potentially saving taxpayers money by more effectively scheduling annual maintenance and improving budgeting.


“This is very valuable data for the City to have. We should be able to make budget proposals, based on the data collection being done now, for Fiscal Year 2018-19,” said Patrick Donart, Director of Public Works.


The current scanning develops a baseline of road conditions. Previously, road conditions were evaluated by a trained visual inspector. The last Friendswood city-wide survey was in 2008.