CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - There’s a distinctive vehicle rolling on the streets of Concord right now. It’s equipped with cameras, computers, and lasers, all designed to help city transportation crews know exactly which streets need work, not just now, but in the future.
The City’s Transportation Department is working with Data Transfer Solutions, LLC (DTS), a Florida-based nationwide firm, to inventory the condition of all City-maintained streets.
“The vans have different equipment they’re going to be taking pictures and doing an electronic analysis of certain stresses they see in the pavement," said Devin Huston, Deputy Transportation Director for the City of Concord.
Using high tech equipment, this van can tell transportation officials in Concord what kind of shape the streets are in and where they should focus maintenance efforts. This imagery will be used to create a digital video inventory to help the City of Concord manage transportation infrastructure, facilities, and assets.
“For the front bumper, it has lasers on it, it measures like within 100.000 to capture that data so it knows exactly how bad the cracks are on certain roads, how rough and bumpy they are," said Ian Kelly, a field systems operator for DTS.
For many years, as part of the street preservation program, Concord City staff spent time riding along roadways to visually inspect all City streets. This annual process helps determine and prioritize the limited number of streets (historically less than 8 miles per year) that could be resurfaced or repaired through the annual street preservation process.
The new process offered by DTS is a more efficient use of time and resources, which will provide a stronger baseline with less-frequent evaluation needed.
For the fiscal year that started July 1, the budget provides additional funding for resurfacing through an increase to the motor vehicle tax collected at the time of registering vehicles with North Carolina DMV.
Staff estimates approximately 10 miles of resurfacing will be possible in the FY20 process.
“We’re hoping that will make everything more streamlined if you will, more efficient," Huston added.
The DTS crew say they are enjoying their time surveying Concord streets, and answering the questions that inevitably come when residents spot that van.
“We went to the gas station, they asked if we were the Ghostbusters, storm chasers since we have all the equipment," Kelly said.