Spokane Valley using 3-D imaging to determine which roads need fixing

Driving on bad roads is never fun. So, the city of Spokane Valley is taking a look at their roads again, checking out which roads should be fixed first.

Adam Jackson, the city’s pavement management coordinator, said they normally check out the streets every other year. When they’ve done it in the past, they look at about 40 to 50 percent of their streets.

However, this year, they contracted with Street Scan, a company that drives a car around with cameras attached to it, and get photos of the 450 miles of the roads they have in the city.

“What that allows us to do is take an inventory of the condition of our streets today and helps us plan and prioritize street plans going forward,” Jackson said.

In the past, they have done a similar process, but with more people. Now, it’s just one person driving a car while the cameras take photos of the roads and the surrounding areas.

There is a 360 degree wide-angle camera on top of the car taking photos of their roads and everything around it – including sidewalks, curbs and streetlights.

On the back of the car, there’s two red and white checkered boxes that hold two cameras each, which Jackson called their “bread and butter” for the vehicle for this particular project.

“That takes a snapshot, a continuous snapshot across all the streets that identifies the different types of distresses and the severity of distresses,” Jackson said.

The cameras are all hooked up to what Jackson called the motherboard, and all that data gets sent back to Street Scan’s headquarters in Massachusetts. Their data team there will go through the data and put it together.

“They have a cloud-based software that allows us to, as a user, program our streets,” he said. “That turnaround, per say, takes two to three months for them to say that crunch.”

As the car drives around for the next week and a half in the city, they ask motorists to be respectful around it.

“This is our tax dollars at work for the city of Spokane Valley. We’re trying to maintain and preserve our streets and keep them the good streets that they are today,” he said. “This is an important part of that process.”