Pavement-scanning Vehicle Coming to Courtenay

September 1, 2023

If you happen to spot a Ghostbusters-like van loaded with strange-looking boxes, lights, and antennas driving through Courtenay over the coming weeks, don’t be alarmed – it’s hunting down rough pavement with an arsenal of high-tech laser scanners.

The cutting-edge technology is helping the City plan and prioritize repairs across the entire road network.

Starting this week, the van will be driving all roads maintained by the City. The van uses multiple scanners mounted on various parts of the vehicle to collect pavement condition data, including surface irregularities, cracking, and pavement rutting.

The vehicle will be travelling approximately 10 kilometres per hour below the speed limit while collecting road condition data, and will have flashing lights while the vehicle is working. 

The work is scheduled to be completed by mid-September.

This is the third time the technology has been used in Courtenay, with previous road scans completed in 2014 and 2018. Past and current survey data will be used to prioritize road repairs, identify areas with accelerated deterioration, and help guide renewal projects over the next several years.

The project is part of the City’s asset management and transportation program, helping extend the lifespan of Courtenay’s infrastructure and lowering long-term costs.

Courtenay’s Manager of Asset Management Technical Services Rod Armstrong said the City has already experienced the benefits of this detailed data. “The scans done in previous years have been really useful in planning road maintenance, setting budgets, and applying for grants,” said Armstrong. “It’s also much more efficient than manual inspections or drilling for pavement samples.

“The ultimate goal is performing necessary road repairs before they become critical. This approach is helping us plan and stretch our road repair budget over the long term.”

Other factors influencing road repairs include traffic volume, as well as the age and condition of the utilities beneath the road surface to ensure any necessary repairs to below-ground infrastructure are coordinated prior to paving and sidewalk upgrades.

Pavement scans are just one tool to track road condition. The City also relies on ongoing inspections and reports from the public. If you spot potholes needing repair on Courtenay roads, who you gonna call? City of Courtenay Public Works Services at 250-338-1525 or email