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Behind the scenes: Street Reconstruction

Updated: 10/20/2017

When looking at a street, people typically only see what is on the surface, including the road, sidewalk and curb and gutter.  However, if we look deeper, there is a lot of important, but often unnoticed, underground infrastructure including sewers, water main, gas, communications, electricity, etc. 

side cut of street

Choosing when to reconstruct a street involves analyzing each piece of infrastructure within a roadway and determining the most effective year to complete the work. In an ideal situation, all infrastructure would require replacement at the same time, but in reality, the lifecycle of each piece varies (i.e. local road - 40 years, water main - 75 years, sewer - 100 years). Each piece of infrastructure is inspected on a regular basis and conditions are documented. Streets are then prioritized on criteria related to each of the individual pieces of infrastructure including condition, target level of service and risk.

Different types of streets have different levels of service. For example, collector roads like Vierling Drive take more resources as they have more traffic, larger vehicles and higher pedestrian volumes compared to local roads. These roads require more attention, higher priority and more investment to ensure they are properly maintained.  

An example of the decision that needs to be made is: Do you reconstruct the street where the road is in good condition but the sewers or water main are in very poor condition? This decision is similar to that of a homeowner who must weigh the pros and cons of various projects and prioritize what work can be completed within their budget. For example, do you replace your leaky roof or your old furnace which could break at any moment?

The city regularly reviews and monitors pavement and utility conditions and updates our improvement plan as pavement and utilities deteriorate. Our Capital Improvement Plan outlines five-years of proposed improvements. It can be found at

  1. Updated: 10/20/2017