Fairbanks North Star Borough Road Upgrading Process

AIDC project number: 309020

  • Ming Lee
  • Billy Connor (UAF)
  • US Department of Transportation (RITA)
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Start Date: Aug 1, 2009
  • End Date: Jul 31, 2012

Project Summary

Currently, the Fairbanks North Star Borough does not have the right tools to help it decide when to upgrade its road system. This project will help FNSB develop a rational, effective, and efficient process to upgrade roads in a manner that allows it to either pave or continue with unbound surfaces without reconstruction. The resulting decision process will allow FNSB — or any county government nationwide — to maximize its road service area budgets. The FNSB has 109 local road service areas with over 470 miles of roads to maintain and service. Road conditions vary among the service areas as well as among individual roads within a single service area. The most frequent budget request from service areas to the FNSB is for surface upgrades to improve drivability and reduce maintenance costs. Without a carefully designed process that considers the priorities, design options, and cost for upgrading, the funds invested in the roads cannot be maximized. A systematic and effective approach to guide decision-makers in selecting and designing appropriate road upgrades is urgently needed so that long-lasting, cost-effective road improvement solutions can be identified and achieved. This approach will include a scheme for examining and sampling the road upgrade candidates, a simplified flexible pavement design method, a model for estimating associated cost, and a Decision Support System (DSS) based on a geographic information system (GIS) platform. Issues intrinsic to the road-upgrading process such as minimizing dust, aiding emergency services, evaluating how inadequate structures will affect future paving demands, and considering the economics of the upgrading investment will be addressed. The results will be integrated in the GIS-based DSS to help FNSB decision makers and engineers develop projects for effective and economical road improvement.