Pavement Ratings Show Condition of Roads in Northwest Michigan
An evaluation of roads in northwest Lower Michigan shows that 40 percent of the region’s federal-aid-eligible roads are in poor condition. That is up from 35 percent of the roads in poor condition in 2018.
Staff from county road commissions, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and Networks Northwest drove on over 2,800 miles of federal-aid-eligible roads in the 10-county region in 2019 to complete the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER). Federal-aid-eligible roads are defined as highways on the Federal-aid highway system and all other public roads not classified as local roads or rural minor collectors.
The PASER system is a visual method for evaluating the condition of roads and rating them on a one to 10 linear scale with one being poor and 10 excellent. The Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) groups the 1-10 rating scale into three categories: 1-4 is poor, 5-7 is fair, and 8-10 is good.
Good ratings are typically newly constructed or recently seal coated roads that require only routine maintenance such as street sweeping, drainage clearing, shoulder grading, and crack sealing. Roads with a fair rating can be managed with preventive maintenance measures that address pavement problems before structural integrity is severally impacted. Doing so protects the pavement structure, slows deterioration and corrects pavement surface deficiencies. Poorly rated roads require structural improvements like resurfacing or major reconstruction. Alligator cracking and road rutting are common examples of the roads structure failing.
The table below shows 2019 PASER ratings by lane miles broken down by county and PASER rating score.
The chart below shows the PASER rating groups for the region’s roads over the past five years.
PASER maps and tables for each of the region’s 10 counties are available on the Networks Northwest website at, nwm.org/paser. More details on PASER can be found on the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council’s website, michigan.gov/tamc/.
Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks NorthwestTy Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner