City of Lexington uses high-tech SUV to analyze pavement conditions and prioritize projects

Updated Jun 25, 2015

Lexington, Kentucky, officials are spending nearly $400,000 to assess the condition of the city’s roads using lasers, cameras, and GPS equipment in an effort to better prioritize repaving and repair projects on the 4,024 streets the city maintains.

“Maintaining basic infrastructure like roads is a key responsibility of local government,” Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said at a press conference. “Over the past five years, the city has committed nearly $38 million to road paving, more than any other five year period. Another $10 million for paving is proposed in the new budget. Data collected by the digital survey vehicle will help Councilmembers determine paving priorities and identify roads where short-term repairs can be made.”

The system, provided by Applied Research Associates and mounted on a Ford Expedition, takes photos every 20 feet and measures changes in road surfaces within one-thousands of an inch. The GPS equipment provides exact locations for the photos and measurements.

Applied Research Associates will crunch the numbers from the data to rate streets on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the quality of new pavement. The assessment will cover 40 to 50 miles each day over the course of several weeks.

“The data collected will be good for up to three years and will help us determine the best way to fix each street – whether that’s through crack sealant, microsurfacing, or traditional mill and overlay – saving money in the long run,” said David Holmes, Commissioner of Environmental Quality & Public Works.