The Blount County Highway Department has partnered with the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) to perform a pavement condition assessment on the county’s roads.

Maryville officials weighed in on this project earlier this week. Now the county is weighing in.

“This assessment will provide us an updated inventory of the condition of the roads in Blount County so that we can make informed, data-driven decisions when planning our agency’s roadway maintenance,” Blount County Highway Superintendent Jeff Headrick said in a press release.

The Blount County Highway Department and the TPO have contracted Applied Pavement Technology Inc. to perform the assessment.

The company’s website outlines the process in several stages: analysis, network definition, data collection, database development, budget analysis and training.

The process begins with analysis that reviews “project goals, objectives, team member responsibilities, deliverables, and the project schedule,” according the website for Applied Pavement Technology.

Next, assessors will conduct the pavement condition assessment by collecting data on the pavement, including the location, type of pavement, condition, and anything else the Highway Department may deem valuable.

The company then will compile that information into a database that can be used to “determine work needs, and develop rehabilitation and maintenance strategies.”

This will help the Highway Department identify problem areas and form a plan for managing the condition of the county’s roadways, which has been the target of criticism from several residents at recent County Commission meetings.

“The Blount County Highway Department is responsible for the maintenance of over 900 miles of roadways,” the Highway Department stated in the press release. “Having a detailed inventory of the condition of these roads will ensure that the most efficient use of taxpayers’ hard earned money can be utilized to maintain the county’s roadways.”

Applied Pavement Technology will begin the pavement assessment at an unspecified date near the end of this month. The process is expected to last through December.

Headrick assured Blount County residents that the pavement assessment will not affect traffic while it is being conducted.

“These assessments will not have any impact on current traffic conditions as these pavement assessments will be made by marked vehicles traveling at posted speed limits,” Headrick said.

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