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San Diego’s Roads Will Be Filmed, Measured To Assess Damage

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Photo by Claire Trageser

A truck owned by Cartegraph Systems outfitted with a laser sensor that will assess the condition of San Diego's roads. Feb. 17, 2015.

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San Diego is paying $550,000 to Iowa-based Cartegraph Systems Inc. to do the assessment, which will take six months. A report on the findings will be released in eight or nine months.

San Diego's 2,774 miles of roads will be measured and filmed using vehicles outfitted with cameras and sensors, Mayor Kevin Faulcouner announced Tuesday.

The city is paying $550,000 to Dubuque, Iowa-based Cartegraph Systems Inc. to do the assessment, which will take six months. A report on the findings will be released in eight or nine months, said Kris McFadden, the director of the city's Transportation & Storm Water Department.

Cartegraph will use a Nissan pickup truck with a laser sensor attached to its front to measure "every pothole, bump and ripple" in the road, McFadden said. A Toyota Prius with a tall camera apparatus on top will take panoramic recordings of the road, much like the cars that record views for Google Maps, he said.

Photo by Claire Trageser

A car owned by Cartegraph Systems outfitted with a camera that will assess the condition of San Diego's roads. Feb. 17, 2015.

The last time the city did a complete assessment of its roads was in 2011. McFadden said the City Auditor's Office recommended the city undertake the project every four years because roads deteriorate at different rates.

Faulconer said the assessment will help the city prioritize which roads should be fixed first, and will let the government know how much money infrastructure repairs will require in the future.

"It's going to help us make sure that we're spending our money wisely on the streets that need it and the streets that need immediate attention now," he said. "It helps to make sure that every single neighborhood gets fair and equal treatment."

He said he's committed to making sure street repair goes to those neighborhoods that need it first, instead of being "done on political boundaries or geographical locations."

Faulconer said he's planning to double street repair efforts by paving 1,000 miles of the city's streets in the next five years.

A recent report found a $1.8 billion gap between the city's infrastructure needs and available funding.

While City Councilman Mark Kersey said last month he plans to put an initiative on the ballot in 2016 to fund infrastructure repairs, Faulconer struck a different tone Tuesday.

"There's no reason that we have to wait for a ballot measure in 2016 to start fixing our streets," he said.

He said the assessment was one of a series of reforms he'll unveil in the coming months to "repair the city's repair program."

City Council President Sherri Lightner said fixing the streets improves safety for cyclists and pedestrians and helps with "beautification" of the city.

"It's like making your bed in the morning, it just makes your room look tidier," she said. "We want businesses to invest and reinvest in local neighborhoods, and they will do that if they know the area looks nice and customers can safely get to their doorsteps."

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Photo of Claire Trageser

Claire Trageser
Investigative Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksAs a member of the KPBS investigative team, my job is to hold the powerful in San Diego County accountable. I've done in-depth investigations on political campaigns, police officer misconduct and neighborhood quality of life issues.

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