ALPHARETTA, Ga. — If Alpharettans want to see an overall improvement in the quality of their roads, it’s liable to cost them plenty.

In this case, plenty is just north of $25 million in pavement management over the next five years.

That was the dreary reality delivered by Alpharetta Public Works Director Pete Sewczwicz June 10 when he presented a roadway rating report to members of the City Council. 

Right now, Sewczwicz said, the condition of Alpharetta’s roadways has improved from a decade ago, although an exact comparison is impossible because the rating system has changed over that time. The current Pavement Condition Index scores for Alpharetta roadways stands at 68.6 on a scale of 1-100. That’s better than average, Sewczwicz said, but it’s below the city’s stated goal of a 75 rating.

The latest ratings were compiled by Dynatest, a firm with international experience in roadway evaluation and analysis. Its evaluation system includes laser crack measurement devices and high-resolution digital line scan pavement images. Data is fed into pavement analysis software to determine the condition of roadways.

The survey evaluated some 525 lane miles covering 911 roads within the city. Data was compiled for sections along each roadway. Private roads were not included.

Overall, nine roads fell into the category of very poor — those with ratings of from 0-24.

Sewczwicz said pavement management can run the gamut, from sealing cracks, to milling and resurfacing, to complete reconstruction from the base up.

Seal coating, he said, is by far the most common method employed, but it is also the least popular among motorists.

Based on cost figures from current resurfacing projects, Sewczwicz said it costs the city about $110,000 to resurface a mile of roadway. That figure, multiplied by the city’s 525 lane miles, means it would cost close to $60 million to resurface all its roads.

Last year, Alpharetta city leaders took measures to raise its overall roadway scores.

During last year’s budget process, the city found itself with an extra $1.4 million in unanticipated property tax revenue. The City Council voted to commit the lion’s share of that money — about $1 million — to pavement management projects.

The 2020 budget, adopted earlier this month, nearly doubles the 2019 funding for street maintenance to around $5.1 million.

Following the June 10 council meeting, Mayor Jim Gilvin said one reason the city has fewer dollars set aside in unallocated capital funds in the coming year is because of the boost in funding to milling and resurface work.

“That was a decision we made as a council,” he said. “We could have reserved it in unallocated and addressed it later on.”

Moving forward, Gilvin said it’s difficult to plan for future years, but he hopes to see the overall condition of roadways improve.

“We still don’t have a tax digest for this year,” he said. “I would like to think we will continue to do what we need to do and commit as much as possible to milling and resurfacing as a priority.”

This year’s public works schedule includes milling and resurfacing work on sections of close to 70 municipal roads. All but two of those roads are listed with current ratings of poor or fair.

You can see a rating score for all Alpharetta roadways at bit.ly/2wRc910.

For a breakdown of roadways included in the milling and resurfacing schedule for this year, visit bit.ly/2IISEgC.

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