Shelby Transportation Condition Assessment and Asset Management Plan
During the late 1920s, Shelby was a bustling and vivacious community in North Carolina. As a significant producer of the nation’s cotton supply, the Shelby community grew both commercially and residentially to support this important industry. However, in the 1950s, the region faced a series of droughts, insect infestations, and government acreage controls, which resulted in the decline of cotton as a primary crop. By 1975, the production of cotton had dwindled to almost nothing. The devastating effects of the decline in cotton were accompanied by a second blow as the economy shifted away from textile manufacturing in the City. As industry moved away from Shelby, so did many of the residents and, thus, the tax base. The City was left with a transportation network that requires ongoing capital investment for repair and preplacement without a significant tax base to support it. While Shelby consistently uses NCDOT Powell Bill revenues and its general fund for transportation improvements and maintenance, the rising and future costs associated with the aging infrastructure require more than can be provided from the current funding sources. A new approach was called for to ensure that consistent and predictable resources are available in the future.
Shelby engaged WR-Martin to undertake a transportation asset management plan, where we evaluated the condition of the City’s transportation assets and project the improvement projects and related expense. WR-Martin teamed with the engineers of McGill Associates to assess the condition of the City’s transportation assets. The condition assessment methodology followed an approach that was previously used by the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) to evaluate the condition of the City’s transportation assets and generate a condition rating. The asset condition ratings were then used to develop a set of capital projects and prioritize the projects over the 5, 10, and 15-year planning period. These capital project needs would then be incorporated into the City’s annual capital improvement planning process.
Once the projects were identified, a financial analysis was completed to forecast the first 10 years of transportation-related capital improvements and their effect on the general fund. This information was used to develop a program financing strategy.
http://www.itre.ncsu.edu/ Through this project, our team not only completed the condition assessment, capital improvement plan, and financial model, but also established a repeatable methodology that can be updated again in the future. The asset condition ratings were loaded into the City’s GIS system so that the City’s Public Works team can continue to manage, monitor, and model the repair and replacement needs going forward. The output of the project and the approach will serve as the basis for an ongoing and planned “Asset Management Program” managed within the City’s Public Works program. With a sound understanding of the comprehensive transportation needs facing the City, Shelby can now turn its attention to identifying sources of supplemental funding to aid in financing the needed investment.