Have you ever wondered how your municipal government selects which streets will be paved or which sidewalks are in need of repair?
The municipality’s Pavement Management team inspects all roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure on a two-year cycle to decide which ones need work most urgently.
What is in the works for 2019?
View [PDF] maps outlining the 2019/20 Capital Projects for each district:
View the latest version of the 2019/20 Construction Index:
View the latest version of the HRM "Redbook" for Municipal Design Guidelines:
How are projects selected?
Each type of infrastructure is assessed by the Pavement Management team in its own way:
Streets are currently rated by a consultant on a two year cycle using a High Speed Pavement Condition Data Collection unit, which is fully equipped with a Laser Crack Measurement System (LCMS) as well as a high speed profiler which captures rutting and roughness. The vehicle drives the street at the posted speed limit and the technology has the ability to measure the length, width and type of all cracks, the size and depth of all potholes, the depth of wheel track ruts and other street distress. This data then goes into an algorithm that calculates a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) for the roadway. PCI’s range from 0 to 100, where 100 is a perfect road and 0 is a heavily distressed road. Along with capturing distress and rutting data, the unit also measures the roughness of the road.
Sidewalks are rated by walking each block of sidewalk, and taking a count of the defective slabs vs total slabs on that block, and then computing a “Percent Defective.” Where sidewalks are asphalt or brick, they are simply rated good, fair or poor.
Curbs are rated as good, fair or poor, regardless of the material.
Figuring out road priorities
These inspection results are then used to come up with a preliminary list of projects. Halifax Regional Municipality uses a “blended” pavement management strategy—a portion of the budget is spent on reconstructing/resurfacing the worst roads, and another portion of the budget on overlaying/sealing the average-to-good condition roads.
This has become industry standard worldwide, as experience has proven that it is much cheaper to keep roads in good condition than it is to let them completely fail and then replace them.
An initial list of candidate streets is created by reviewing the pavement conditions, traffic volumes and recommended rehabilitation/maintenance strategies. This initial list is generally much larger than the budget level. Priority is given to roads that see the most traffic. This list is then distributed to various stakeholders within the municipal government, as well as to outside groups such as Halifax Water, Heritage Gas and any other business that has interest in the right of way. Feedback from these groups on opportunities to integrate projects is the first step in downsizing the initial program. Integrating multiple components into a project allows for cost savings to the taxpayer.
If a street is being paved, sidewalks and curbs along that street are added to the project if condition warrants. If there is funding left in the sidewalk renewal account, stand-alone sidewalk renewals are then added to the Capital Program by simply working down from the top of the list of sidewalk segments with the worst condition rating.
Halifax also allocates funding for new sidewalk construction. The design group maintains a “Priorities Rating List” for new sidewalk locations. Every potential location is given a score based on such things as proximity to schools and bus stops, classification of the road, gaps in current sidewalk routes, etc. Any location that runs within the limits of a paving project and has a high score is added to the project. Any remaining funds are spent on stand-alone new sidewalk installs by starting with the locations that score the highest.
The list of projects is then passed along to the Survey and Design teams.
Legal and engineering surveys and the acquisition of property usually follow, then the design group releases studies, plans, specifications, tender documents, and cost estimates for the proposed projects.
Once all of the cost estimates and plans are finalized, the list can be scaled back to fit the available funding. The municipality puts emphasis on making sure that the work is spread out through each electoral district so that everyone is getting a piece of the pie.
How many roads and sidewalks does Halifax have?
Halifax’s road network
The following are breakdowns of the Municipalities road network, as of April 2019.
Type of roadways:
- 1768 km of asphalt pavement
- 2 km of concrete pavement
- 82 km of stone and oil / chipsealed
- 15 km of gravel
Types of street classifications:
- 216 km arterial
- 211 km major collector
- 248 km minor collector
- 1192 km local
Total road network: 1867 km
Halifax’s sidewalk network
The following are breakdowns of the Municipalities sidewalk network, as of April 2019.
Type of sidewalk:
- 922 km of concrete
- 35 km of asphalt
- 2 km of brick/paver
- 7 km of exposed aggregate sidewalk
Total sidewalk network: 966 km
Halifax’s curb and gutter network
The following are breakdowns of the municipality’s curb and gutter network, as of April 2019.
Type of curb
- 1881 km of concrete
- 310 km of asphalt
- 1 km of exposed aggregate
- 4 km of granite
Total curb network: 2196 km