New technology helping City of Midland keep up with troubled roads

New technology helping City of Midland keep up with troubled roads

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - The city of Midland is taking advantage of modern technology to make sure Midlanders are driving on the best roads possible. The city is paying nearly $150,000 for an Ohio company to survey roads.

"The computers are smart enough to pick up everything that human eyes can't see on the roadway," said Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist, Claire-Louise Bode with Transmap.

Three modern tools of technology are helping the city of Midland keep track of the quality of city roads. A camera gets panoramic pictures, another device makes sure road signs have reflectivity for nighttime drivers, and maybe the most interesting part is the laser Transmap is equipped with.

"It's called an LCMS which is a laser crack management system. When it's in operation, lasers fire down onto the pavement and for every crack that's on the road, it takes a measurement of it and it'll tell you how deep it is, how wide it is and the severity of it," said Senior GIS Technician, John Sutliff.

Each of the mapping tools has a monitor and you can track progress as you drive.

"The roads are pretty good for a city this size," said Sutliff. "The way it works out is the best roads are kinda going to be close to downtown because that's where a city typically paves roads first and the further you get away from civilization, like the country roads, that's where there's going to be more distresses and cracks on them."

Roads with bigger vehicles like semis and construction trucks see a lot of wear and tear. Surveying the roads used to take the city months to do, after about 20 days Transmap  is all wrapped up with mapping. Now Bode has to go back and process all the data, making it possible for city officials to view troubled roads from the comfort of their office.

"They can scroll through the images of the roadway before having to walk out in the field and having to look themselves," said Bode. "We obviously have panoramic images of front and back and the roadway analysis for them on their computer screens."

Transmap will score each road. Roads scored between 70-100 are in good condition, scores between 50-60 mean the city needs to keep a close eye and a road scored below 50 needs urgent maintenance.

This is the second time Transmap was in town. The first was when they surveyed roads in 2014, the overall score for roads then was over 70 percent. The city said they expect scores to be higher this time because they've allocated more money for road maintenance since then.

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