Pavement Ratings Show Condition of Roads in Northwest Michigan
February 9, 2023
An evaluation of roads in northwest Lower Michigan shows that 30 percent of the region’s federal-aid-eligible roads are in good condition, 35 percent of the roads are in fair condition, and 35 percent are in poor condition.
Staff from county road commissions, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and Networks Northwest drove on over 2,500 miles of federal-aid-eligible roads in the 10-county region in 2022 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 1 to 10 linear scale with 1 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 sealed 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 severely 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.
PASER maps 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/mic/tamc.
The professionals at Networks Northwest help our City Council, Planning Commission, and staff make thoughtful decisions to ensure our community is sustainable and resilient for many years to come.
- Mark Heydlauff, Charlevoix City Manager