City Goes High-Tech to Analyze Roadways

November 6, 2014

If you happened to notice a white van with strange looking boxes and receivers driving through Courtenay last month, don’t worry; it wasn’t Ghostbusters.

The City of Courtenay engaged the Cambridge, Ontario-based firm IMS Infrastructure Management Services to complete a detailed inventory and condition rating of all roadways owned by the City.  The data will be collected and analyzed to develop long-term rehabilitation plans and budgets.  The field surveys work was completed in two phases using specialized surveying equipment.

The first phase involved collecting data using a device known as a Laser Road Surface Tester, or RST.  This device measures pavement roughness, rutting, cracking and other surface distresses. It also collected digital video and Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) information for cataloging right-of-way assets.  The RST is a one-ton Ford van with 4 inside mounted cameras and GPS receivers and a modified front bumper. Operated by three field technicians, the RST surveyed each roadway at least once.

The second phase established the load-carrying capacity of the arterial and collector roadways using a Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD).  This device uses non-destructive testing techniques to establish the structural characteristics of the pavement and sub grade layers of a roadway.  This information is useful in predicting the pavement’s remaining life.

Now that the data has been collected, it will be combined, linked to the City’s GIS mapping software, and used to develop a series of reports that will allow the city to cost-effectively budget the long-term maintenance of roadways.
The project is just one part of the City’s ongoing overall efforts on asset management — formally analyzing the life cycle of the Courtenay’s various forms of infrastructure.

Preliminary data from the project should be available to the City later this month.