New street survey looks below the surface

By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 9, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The City of Valdosta is taking road repairs to the next level by going underground to find out what streets need some TLC.

On Tuesday, crews began testing every street within the city using a new "Road Surface Tester." City staff said the testing could have an impact on future road improvement projects.

City officials said there are more than 280 miles of roadways being surveyed by Infrastructure Management Services, a third party company hired to survey the roads. Officials said it's the first time the city has brought in the company. They hope it will give a better assessment on which roads near repairs, and which ones can wait.

As the wheels on the IMS truck turn, it could be paving the way for future projects.

"A lot of times we can go in and resurface a road, and we start having the same issues two to three years down the line," said Larry Ogden, Valdosta Traffic Manager. "So this kind of will help us really look at the roadway, and most importantly look at the base so we can tell what's failing and which roads we need to put more money in to."

The company uses lazer pods to scan underneath the road's surface. It then tests for spots with imperfections or distress, which could be signs of major damages, like cracks or erosion, beneath the surface.

"You can have, often times, either a small pot hole or a small hole in the road that looks fine from the top, but after going through and doing the testing and creating these reports, you'll see that there's actually a tremendous amount of damage underneath the road," said Henry Willis with IMS.

City staff are hoping this new venture can lead to smarter spending on projects down the road.

"So we can possible get ahead of the road failures, and start preparing them from the base up," Ogden said. "Once a roadway is repaired correctly, once we get it rain it runs off correctly, we won't have to worry about water getting out to the base."

The truck does move fairly slowly as it gathers this information, so drivers are just asked to be patient and cautious when driving near the truck.

The work is expected to take about three weeks.