“Pave on!” the Sandy Springs City Council declared July 21 after approving streets for surface maintenance in fiscal 2010.

The new budget includes $5.825 million for the pavement management program, and for the first time, a portion of the money will be devoted to reconstructing almost three miles of the city’s worst roadways, such as North Island Terrace. That street’s residents were among 10 people who urged the city to rebuild roads during budget hearings June 2 and 9.

The city’s $24 million of roadwork to date has focused on repaving about 53 miles of streets because reconstruction costs about twice as much as repaving. With resurfacing, an overlay is placed on the existing road surface, but road reconstruction involves stabilizing or rebuilding the road base first.

The council also approved repaving nearly 10 miles of arterial and collector roads, including Lake Forrest Drive and Mount Vernon Highway.

The list of streets was drafted based on a re-evaluation of road conditions in Sandy Springs. The last study was in 2005.

Infrastructure Management Service (IMS) conducted the analysis, sending trucks down roads to examine surface distress like cracking and potholes, riding comfort, and load-carrying capacity. Roads then were rated using a Pavement Condition Index (PCI), which classifies roads from very good to unacceptable.

IMS President Stephen Smith was on hand July 21 to update the council on its road network.

Sandy Springs has 317 miles of roadways, a $300 million asset, Smith said.

The overall target PCI is 75; in 2009, Sandy Springs’ road network averaged 71. Typical cities have rates of 60 to 65.

“You folks are above average,” said Smith, giving the city a grade of A-minus.

In 2005, more than 20 percent of roads were rated unacceptable, meaning a street has zero to five years of use left. Now less than 10 percent of roads are in that category. In the same period, both the good category and the very good category have remained steady at almost 25 percent and nearly 15 percent, respectively.

“Your backlog is certainly being addressed,” said Smith, noting the city has attacked the bad roads and maintained the good roads. “I’m very pleased with the results.”

He recommends the city continue to commit around $5.5 million a year as it has since 2005. With that funding, by 2014, more than 50 percent of roads will be in the very good category, and the overall network score will be near 80.

“We still have a little work to do, but we will address that over the next five years,” Smith said.

The city would have to spend $67 million between 2009 and 2014 to fix all road issues and to exceed an overall rank of 90, he said.

— Amy Wenk