Keeping Track of the City’s Assets

The City of Littleton owns and maintains a large network of public infrastructures such as pavement, underground utilities, traffic signals, municipal buildings, grounds, and much more. These assets are a large capital investment for the city. Maintaining and operating infrastructure on a large system such as this involves complex decisions about how and when to apply various techniques to ensure proper performance and keep operating costs at a reasonable level. Inspection and minor routine maintenance will minimize problems when they occur, and when damage is noted, timely repairs will prevent the damage from deteriorating into more severe problems that will be more expensive to repair. Relatively small scale expenditures on periodic maintenance will actually save money in the long run. Asset management is a process by which a municipality can understand the current quality of its infrastructure and develop a plan to repair defective areas in an optimal manner. All too often maintenance is done only when things fail. Information from an asset management system provides an effective way to get better performance with less cost by providing valuable information to decision-makers. It is unlikely that infrastructure materials will become so good that they never need repair. Similarly, it is unlikely that major increases in funding for infrastructure maintenance and replacement will occur in the near future. All the while, costs of routine maintenance activities continue to dramatically rise. The need for efficient management is greater today than ever before, and the tool for efficiency is a good asset management system. The Public Works Department is developing an Asset Management Program as an important aspect of long-term infrastructure master planning. An Asset Management Program provides a good tool to assess the condition of a very large investment, assist in determining future needs, and has the benefit of applying appropriate rehabilitation at optimum times.

Some of the efforts underway to evaluate the condition of the city’s infrastructure assets include:

• Pavement condition rating – all 161 miles of city streets have been rated based on their condition and level of deterioration. This will allow the Public Works Department to understand the overall pavement condition and program the appropriate future maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement.

• Facility condition assessment – All city-owned buildings have been evaluated to review structural conditions, mechanical and electrical systems, and other physical needs.

• Signal Structural Analysis – A structural analysis of the city’s 61 traffic signal systems, evaluating the signal pole and connecting component conditions is underway.

• Sanitary Sewer and Storm Sewer CCTV – Inspection of over 175 miles of sanitary sewer and storm sewer pipe, and inspection of more than 5,000 manholes is nearly complete. The results of these inspections will help to inform future maintenance and repair needs.

The wealth of data from the condition assessments currently underway will help in programming the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, which will lay out a schedule for future improvements needed to keep the city’s infrastructure in optimal operating condition.