Posted Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Morris County is undertaking an extensive assessment of its 280-mile road network this fall with a goal of creating a pavement management system that help will guide the county in creating an annual priority list for future road improvement and resurfacing projects.    

Morris County Kicks Off New High-Tech Health Assessment of it's Entire County Road Network
Freeholder Dave Scapicchio (right) examines high-tech road equipment
with Nick Hutton, project manager for Michael Baker Jr. Inc.

Pittsburgh-based consultant Michael Baker Jr. Inc’s team is driving every mile of county roads in all 39 Morris County municipalities this fall with a special vehicle that will assess damage and deterioration rates. 

The raw data collected over the next several weeks will be used to develop a pavement management database, to aid in prioritizing work and determining appropriate roadway maintenance measures, Baker’s project manager Nick Hutton explained at a press briefing today in Parsippany.

He was joined by Morris County Freeholder Dave Scapicchio, County Director of Planning and Public Works Deena Leary, County Engineer Chris Vitz, and county senior engineer Jennifer Molter.

The consultant firm, which has a $230,000 contract with the county, is employing a new Pavemetrics™ Laser Crack Measurement System (LCMS). That technology automatically detects cracks, rutting and other roadway characteristics by capturing 2D and 3D images of a highway with high-speed cameras, custom optics and laser line projectors.

The Pavemetrics process is combined with Baker’s existing mobile Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Ground-Penetrating Radar systems, which are deployed in a fully equipped diagnostic vehicle that is started analyzing the county’s roads last week. 
Morris County Kicks Off New High-Tech Health Assessment of it's Entire County Road Network
High-Tech equipped vehicle that will be used to analyze all county roads
“This is a remarkable effort that will further enhance the freeholder board’s efforts to continue to improve the road network in Morris County,’’ said Freeholder Dave Scapicchio, who is the county governing board’s liaison on road projects. 
“It will ensure that future freeholder boards get even better information to help guide them on spending tax dollars on road projects, making the best possible, cost-effective decisions.’’
Currently, the county assesses road conditions based solely on a series of visual observations of county roads, said Vitz. 
The establishment of this pavement management system will enable the county to:
  • Evaluate the condition of county roads using an automated, laser technology data collection method;
  • Incorporate and track historical pavement information into pavement management software;
  • Develop annual roadway programs and budget projections based on the optimization of critical need projects, available maintenance treatments, resurfacing, and funding;           
  • Document each future year’s annual roadway program in the pavement management software; 
  • Gain understanding on the cost-benefit ratio of different types of pavement treatments, rehabilitation, and replacement; and 
  • Link aspects of the pavement management system to the county GIS system for use by county staff. 
Morris County anticipates data collection will be performed over the next few months, with analysis and roadway program development to follow thereafter.
The contract with Michael J. Baker Inc. requires the consultant to collect, process, and deliver pavement condition and video-log data to Morris County for its entire roadway network. 
The consultant must incorporate the raw data into pavement management software selected by Morris County and provide training on the pavement management system.

Hutton said the work began last week and will last at least through the end of this month, as crews work seven-days-a-week on the project. 

The Morris County Freeholders over the past several years have stressed the need to maintain and upgrade the county’s 280 mile road network, which in 2015 –for a second consecutive year – has been getting a facelift on more than 30 miles of county maintained roads.

Morris County Kicks Off New High-Tech Health Assessment of it's Entire County Road Network

In fact, to expedite projects, the freeholders for the past two years approved short-term financing to allow the county to bid projects early in the season and move full-speed-ahead during the spring and summer on a full slate of road repaving, allocating the more than $10 million full cost of the road resurfacing, even before the state has approved its share of the costs.

The county’s costs, minus state reimbursement in 2015, is about $6.2 million.

The county is winding down on its 2015 road resurfacing program, with a nearly three-mile section of heavily traveled Changebridge Road in Montville now underway.

More than 20 major roadways across the county have been resurfaced this year.

For more information on the Pavemetrics system used by Michael Baker International, visit: