Paving & Repair
Have you ever wondered how the Halifax Regional Municipality determines which roadways should be paved or resurfaced, or which sidewalks are in need of repair?
The municipality’s Transportation Infrastructure Management team inspects roads and streets on a two-year cycle, and sidewalks and remaining infrastructure on a three-year cycle, to determine which areas require work most urgently.
What work has been approved in the 2020/21 Capital Budget?
View maps outlining the 2020/21 Capital Projects for each district within the municipality:
View the latest version of the 2020/21 Construction Index:
View the latest version of the Municipal Design Guidelines:
How are projects selected?
The Transportation Infrastructure Management team assesses different types of infrastructure, each in its own applicable way:
As part of the municipality’s capital budget process, staff assess and evaluate roads and streets using pavement management software to determine which areas should be considered for inclusion in the annual capital program.
Roadways are currently rated by a consultant on a two-year cycle, through using a high-speed pavement condition data collection unit. This unit is driven on roadways, and the technology captures and measures the length, width and type of all cracks, the size and depth of all potholes, the depth of wheel track ruts and other types of street distress, including roughness of the road. This data then goes into an algorithm that calculates a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) for the roadway. PCIs range from 0 to 100, where 100 is a perfect road and 0 is a heavily distressed road.
Sidewalks are assessed in-person by taking count of defective slabs versus total slabs on that block. This information is then calculated into a “per cent defective.” When sidewalks are asphalt or brick, they are simply rated as good, fair or poor.
Curbs are assessed in-person as either good, fair or poor – regardless of the material.
Determining road priorities
The municipality uses a “blended pavement management strategy” to determine road priorities. This strategy combines the “worst first” and “best first” approach – reconstructing or resurfacing the worst roads, and overlaying or sealing the average-to-good condition roads. It is much less expensive to complete regular maintenance than to let a road deteriorate to the point of needing a full replacement.
An initial list of candidate streets is created by reviewing the pavement conditions, street classification (i.e. arterial, collector, local) and recommended rehabilitation and maintenance strategies. Priority is given to roadways that receive the heaviest traffic. This list is then distributed to various stakeholders within the municipal government, as well as external groups including Halifax Water, Heritage Gas and others. Identifying integration opportunities and conflicts with other infrastructure components (i.e., sewer and water mains, active transportation facilities, traffic signals, etc.) is a key step in refining the initial candidate list.
If a street is being paved, sidewalks and curbs along that same street will be added to the project if condition warrants. If funding is available 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 highest rating.
The municipality also allocates funding for new sidewalk construction. The Active Transportation team maintains a “priorities rating list” for new sidewalk locations – each potential location is given a score based on factors such as proximity to schools and bus stops, classification of the road, gaps in current sidewalk routes, and more. Any location that runs within the limits of a paving project and has a high score is generally added to the project. Any remaining funds are spent on stand-alone sidewalk installations 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. Next, the Design team releases studies, conducts site visits to confirm the project scope, develops preliminary designs and determines the cost estimates for the proposed projects.
Once the cost estimates and preliminary designs are finalized, the list can be scaled back to fit the available funding. At this time, the Design team will develop detailed designs and corresponding tender documents.
How many roads and sidewalks are in the Halifax Regional Municipality?
The following are breakdowns of the municipality's road and sidewalk network, as of April 2020:
Types of roadways
- 1772 km of asphalt pavement
- Two km of concrete pavement
- 82 km of stone and oil/chipsealed
- 14 km of gravel
Types of street classifications
- 216 km arterial
- 211 km major collector
- 248 km minor collector
- 1195 km local
Total road network: 1870 km
The following are breakdowns of the municipality's sidewalk network, as of April 2020:
Types of sidewalks
- 925 km of concrete
- 35 km of asphalt
- Two km of brick/paver
- Seven km of exposed aggregate sidewalk
Total sidewalk network: 969 km
Curb and gutter network
The following are breakdowns of the municipality’s curb and gutter network, as of April 2020:
Types of curbs
- 1901 km of concrete
- 295 km of asphalt
- One km of exposed aggregate
- Four km of granite
Total curb network: 2201 km