City study finds two-thirds of Kingston’s road network in rough shape

This may come as no surprise to drivers, but many of Kingston’s roads are in rough shape.

A recent inspection report paints a troubling picture of the city’s crumbling road network.

A pavement condition survey was conducted in late 2019 on the condition of the city’s more than 700 kilometres of asphalt road surfaces.

The 2019 road condition survey looked at more than 700 lane kilometres of roads in Kingston. CKWS TV

Overall, the survey found Kingston roads rated 45 out of a best-case score of 100 on the roughness index scale.

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“This rating is considered fair trending toward poor,” the report concluded.

By comparison, the consultants hired to do the evaluation say the average target rating is a score between 60 and 65.

A newer street would generally have a roughness index of 85 out of 100, while one due for an overlay would rate between 40 and 70.

Laser technology used to compile the data looked for cracks, potholes, ravelling and distortions of the pavement surface.

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A closer look at the numbers revealed only three percent of Kingston’s road network is considered to be in excellent shape, while 33 percent of roads are listed as good or very good.

That leaves nearly two-thirds of Kingston’s remaining road network, 64 percent, deemed to be in fair, poor or very poor condition, according to the study.

“Kingston’s roads are aging and showing the impact of roadway renewal budget shortfalls over the last several years,” according to the staff information report to council Sept. 15.

However, the report also noted that the survey did not take into account most of the municipal road repairs done in 2019 or 2020.

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For example, the city is investing over $60 million to reconstruct a section of John Counter Boulevard and to install a new four-lane bridge overpass at the VIA train station.

Kingston is investing millions of dollars in its road network, but a new study says there is still a growing backlog of roads in need of repair. CKWS TV

The study results will help the city identify priority road maintenance for the next few years.

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But it also points out that there are no quick solutions, adding that routine road maintenance depends on adequate funding, regular data collection and maximizing available funding sources. The challenge is made greater when there is a growing backlog of roads in fair to poor condition.

The emergence of COVID-19 has also delayed some of the road work that was planned this year.

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Since last year, city council has significantly increased its budget for road maintenance, allocating $5.4 million in 2020, $5.3 million in 2021 and $7.9 million in 2022.

Read more: Kingston's 2020 budget includes extra money for roads

The city’s engineering department has identified priorities for 2021 and 2022 and has come out with a preliminary list of more than 30 road rehabilitation projects.

The revised list includes:

  • resurfacing Taylor-Kidd Boulevard (Gardiners Road to Princess Street)
  • reconstructing Princess Street (Division Street to Alfred Street)
  • reconstructing Brock Street (King Street to Clergy Street)
  • repaving Gardiners Road (Princess Street to Cataraqui Woods Drive)
  • resurfacing Bath Road (Bayridge Drive to Centennial Drive)

Prior to 2019, the last pavement condition study was conducted in 2011.

The city says it will now aim to conduct a road condition survey every two years.

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