What is Price's master plan?
The master plan for prices infrastructure was recently completed by two engineering firms working in conjunction with the city's engineer and support services.
A master plan is like a roadmap to what needs to be done to maintain and upgrade systems like electrical, sewer, water and storm sewers over a long period of time. Included also in Price's master plan is a look into the future on parks and the cemeteries as well.
Russell Seeley is Price's city engineer and he has charge of the plan and helped to coordinate its development.
The plan was recently finished and two weeks ago he gave a comprehensive, but abbreviated report of what was in the plan to the Price City Council at one of their regular Friday work meetings.
"A plan like this has to take in a lot of factors," said Seeley on Friday. "It takes into account population growth, future development, the lifespan of the various systems and what has to happen for the city to give the best service with upgrades that need to take place."
the city to give the best service with upgrades that need to take place."
The plan cost about $300,000 to complete with $150,000 of that coming from the Permanent Community Impact Board.
"We needed this done basically for two reasons," said Seeley. "We needed to have an inventory of what we presently have and secondly to analyze what we have and see where we are at."
The inventory included amounts of infrastructure, where it is located and the kinds of infrastructure that is in place. That may sound simple, but while one might know that a water line runs down a certain street, one may not know how old that line is, what kind of materials it is composed or exactly (in terms of position) where it is located.
"Sam White (water and sewer supervisor) has a lot of what we have and where it is at in his head," said Seeley. "He spent a great deal of time on this project marking on streets with spray cans all the lines and where they were. The engineering firm then went through and GPSed all that information out on the streets so now we have a permanent record of it. For us that marking of infrastructure was the most time consuming part."
Vast amounts of data were entered into a computer program by the engineering firm (Jones-DeMille) and now the city has a tool which gives them up to the minute data on where things are at with their systems.
Seeley demonstrated this by pulling up a section of east Main Street in Price. The interactive map showed huge amounts of information which the city can use to solve problem as they come up. The program tells whoever is using it everything from pipe sizes to valves."
"While we were doing it we added a lot more too," said Seeley. "It even shows what the vehicle accident rate is at various places in the city."
Worst places for accidents were denoted by big red dots. Not surprisingly the largest ones were in front of some of the shopping centers and in front of Carbon High School.
"Before we only had maps on the wall to work with," explained Seeley. "Now we have it all on computer. This will help us to replace what needs replacing before we hit an emergency situation."
Besides giving the city planners, engineers and maintenance shops a better understanding of the entire systems two other things have come from the plan as well.
First, it took into account all the roads in the city. In many places core samples were made of roads and road base to see what is exactly there. The plan helps those in charge to identify which roads are basically good and what maintenance should be done to keep them good. It also identifies roads that need total replacement.
"This way we can set priorities for replacement of roads," stated Seeley. "We know which are the worst and which to start with and then we can move on."
The plan also helps the city plan for improvements that will be needed in the future.
Seeley brought some caution about what may seem to need to be replaced, and what actually needs replacement.
"Sam (White) is always reminding us that just because something is old doesn't mean it isn't any good or doesn't work anymore," mused Seeley. "In fact this year part of the sewer system in the city turns 100 years old and it is still working."
While the plan certainly makes the point that some things need improvement, there are a lot of good things about the citys infrastructure.
Now some big challenges lie ahead. Planning for projects includes getting the money to do them. As Mayor Joe Piccolo said at the last council meeting it takes two years to get a road project off the ground and into the construction phase.
The cemetery master plan was put together by the firm of Hansen, Allen and Luce. That plan gives the city a better idea of inventory in term of what lots are sold, which already have burials and which are not committed. It will help with the expansion of the cemetery system in the city based on population projections.
The water system will surely benefit from the plan too.
"The plan places a priority on fire flow (water capacity for fighting fires in the city)," said Seeley. "When they were put in four inch lines were fine, but now when we have to redo a culinary water system, we need to use eight inch lines."
The storm sewer projects that will be upcoming are also addressed in the plan. Much of what has been done in the past for storm runoff had to do with surface systems and canals that carried the water away. In some areas this isn't working well and so the money that residents will begin paying for those systems this summer on their utility bills will be used to mitigate storm runoff woes.
Another challenge the city faces is keeping the infrastructure information on master computer program current. It will be a big job to enter in the information and do it correctly.
Seeley says however, that the beginnings are now there and that the plan will have a direct affect on how the city is able to manage its infrastructure.