London Grove Township roads in 'good' to 'very good' shape, report says
● By Richard Gaw
The findings of the most recent pavement condition report conducted by London Grove Township declared that the majority of the township's roads are in “Good” or “Very Good” condition. The report was compiled by the township's Public Works Department and delivered by Director of Public Works Director Shane Kinsey at the township's Board of Supervisors meeting on March 6.
First implemented by the township in 2010 and subsequently in 2013 and 2017, the “Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating System” (PASER) – developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison – is used to evaluate current road conditions in order to make informed decisions on road maintenance, repair and replacement.
The department underwent the evaluation of the township's 61.34 miles of road (the sixth-largest number in Chester County) in January and February, and graded them according to degrees of rutting, longitudinal cracking and bleeding. Of the total 180 road segments in the township, 63 of them were rated as “Very Good” and 90 were rated as “Good.” The report also gave a “Fair” rating to 19 roads, a “Poor” ratings to 7 roads and one road was given a “Failed” rating -- Mosquito Lane, located between Route 41 and Route 926.
Measured against the three previous ratings the township conducted, Kinsey said that the number of “Good” and “Very Good” roads have increased with every evaluation, “and the number of poor or failed roads have basically fallen off,” he said.
The ratings system defines “Very Good” roads as being those that require little or no maintenance; “Good” roads are considered those that require routine maintenance, such as crack sealing and minor patching; “Fair” roads are classified as those that need crack sealing and major patching and preventative treatments; “Poor” roads are those that require structural improvements; and “Failed” roads are those that require complete reconstruction.
While that's mostly good news for township residents concerned about their roads, it comes with the pressing reality of maintaining road conditions against the backdrop of several factors. Historically, Kinsey said, the township has projected a 20-year lifespan for township roads, but due to a variety of conditions, that length of time is subject to change in in the future. He said that “Superpave,” a PennDOT-approved asphalt mix that is designed for major roadways, contains less oil to reduce rutting. In addition, the township has recently absorbed the increased wear-and-tear of 6 new cul de sacs, as well as 3.82 more lane miles and 9 new intersections.
Increased traffic and population is also impacting township roads. The 2000 Census reported that 5,285 residents lived in the township; by 2010, the number rose to 7,475; and in 2017, it was reported that the township's population rose to 8,665 – a 64 percent increase over 17 years. As a result, Kinsey said that the number of daily drivers on township roads rose from 4,123 a day in Oct. 2011 to 4,447 in Sept. 2016.
“It doesn't sound like a lot, but when you add that up, it's 118,000 trips per year, and over two million added trips over the lifespan of that road, so the road degrades a lot faster,” Kinsey said.
Added to that impact is the increased number of truck trips along township roadways – exacerbated by the surge in online shopping and home deliveries. A truck's impact on a road is staggering; Kinsey said that one truck trip on a road is equivalent to 10,000 car trips.
“Every trash truck – every tri-axle truck making a delivery into our new developments -- is tearing up our roads at a much higher rate,” he said. “If you have ten homes, you have ten trips. Any way we can reduce truck traffic, which we're pretty limited in doing, is going to help save our roads.”
While the township continues to make strides in maintaining its roads in light of these impacts, Kinsey recommended that the township budget as much as $600,000 per year for general road maintenance alone.
“We need to budget for the surface treatment of these roads every 10 to 15 years, and resurfacing every 20 [years],” he said. “We're working towards that, but it may go up.”
The Public Works Department repaired 3.13 miles of township roads in 2018, at a cost of $590,963, which included work on Greenfield Lane, Bentley Road, Schoolhouse Road, Avondale Road, Paschall Road and Chambers Road. The department has budgeted $369,782 in 2019 toward repairs on Sullivan Road, Holly Lane, Lake Road and Mosquito Lane.
Kinsey shared the department's three-year plan for road projects in the township, beginning in 2020, when it plans to make improvements to Garden Station Road, the Sullivan Station subdivision and Valley Road. In 2021 – repairs are projected for the Ashland Woods subdivision, South Guernsey Road, the Wickerton subdivision, and along Spencer Road, Bell Lane, Auburn Road and Rosehill Road.
In 2022, the department has planned road maintenance for Clay Creek Road, the Hills of Sullivan subdivision and Briarchase Road.
Kinsey said that repairs are also projected to be made to “special condition” roads in the next few years. They include Baker Station Road, which will be reconstructed as part of the London Grove West project; Hepburn Road, from the top of the London Grove Village Boulevard to County Bridge #59; West Woodview Road, which will be reconstructed as part of the Coventry Reserve project; and State Road, from Rose Hill Road to Wickerton Road.
The report was also compiled by Michael Tome, Public Works Department foreman.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.