SR-125 Road and Storm Drain Condition Evaluation

 General, GIS, Infrastructure Management, Planning  Comments Off on SR-125 Road and Storm Drain Condition Evaluation
Feb 152012

Opened in 2007, the State Route (SR) 125 toll road is approximately 10 miles long and extends from HWY 54 to I-905 in the City of Chula Vista, San Diego County, California. The city of Chula Vista witnessed rapid growth in housing development during the housing boom of the mid-2000s. An estimated 30,000 residential, commercial, and other parcel units were slated for development in this region. The SR-125 toll road, which was privately operated by South Bay Expressway (SBX), was created to accommodate this rapid expansion.

However, the economic slowdown of 2008 arrived and hit boom towns like Chula Vista particularly hard. Ridership and revenue projections made during the boom cycle fell short under the reality of recession. On July 29, 2011, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) voted to purchase the lease from SBX for about $345 million with various contingencies. (

VanderHawk Consulting LLC was contracted to perform a condition assessment of the road pavement and storm drainage systems on the SR-125 toll road and report the findings. The road pavement condition assessment was performed in accordance with the MicroPAVER pavement management protocol, while the storm drainage assessment was performed in a manner consistent with CalTrans’ storm drainage system evaluation procedures.  Almost 1,400 images (many geo-tagged) were captured for this project and comprise the most extensive analytical photo archive of the SR-125 toll road and drainage networks to date.

Road Maintenance Philosophy: Best First vs. Worst First

 Infrastructure Management  Comments Off on Road Maintenance Philosophy: Best First vs. Worst First
Jan 012011

Drivers often remember the roads that are bad as opposed to the roads that are good.  That section of potholed road where they nearly lost their right front tire stands out more than a smooth, defect-free, almost boring section of road.  This puts public works engineers in a difficult bind.  They have to balance maintaining their road pavements based on citizen complaints and other requests with more objective information obtained from regular field inspections and an established program for repair.  This is the battle of Best First versus Worst First maintenance philosophies.

Example PCI Deterioration Curve (MicroPAVER™)

The most common method for rating the condition of a road section is the PCI, or pavement condition index.  The PCI ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 being a failed road section littered with distresses such as potholes, alligator cracks, rutting, etc.  Rather than spending 4-5 times (or more) to rehabilitate or reconstruct a road section, it is more cost-effective on a network level to allocate repair funds to sections before they slip into the costly maintenance category.  This generally means applying some type of surface seal, crack sealing and/or other preventive maintenance measures on the roads in fair to satisfactory condition.  Utilizing a Best First approach allows agencies to spread their maintenance dollars to more roads and accrue additional funds for more costly repairs.