How Ann Arbor Selects Which Roads to Fix and When


header image
Skip Navigation LinksHome » Departments » Engineering » How Ann Arbor Selects Which Roads to Fix and When


Snow, ice, freezing and thawing, as well as millions of tires can do a number to Ann Arbor's streets.​

Unfortunately, we can't repair all streets, all at once.

There are limitations.

  • ​How much can we do with the money we have?

  • Are there enough contractors and supplies?

  • Will the infrastructure under this street need to be upgraded soon?

  • How will work impact other planned projects?

To decide, the city uses a data driven process to determine which, when and how to make repairs.

The process​

Principles of the City's Pavement Asset Management Plan guide the selection process for street construction and resurfacing. Limiting factors include available funding and the need for other infrastructure/utility improvements.

The two main principles of the City's Pavement Asset Management Plan are:

  • Use a complete “Mix of Fixes": This means using a broad range of construction treatment methods to preserve or restore a pavement's condition and extend its service life. These include non-structural methods such crack sealing, surface seals, thin asphalt overlays, and thin milling and resurfacing. They also include structural ones involving more substantial resurfacing work, full depth pavement rehabilitation, and reconstruction.

  • Employ the “Right Fix at the Right Time": This involves applying the appropriate treatment method based on where the pavement is in its life cycle. Essentially, it's like treating a street like one would maintain a car, and using preventative measures to extend the life. It also means spending resources to maintain streets that are not in the worst condition in order to preserve them in a better condition rather than waiting until their pavement fails before applying a treatment.

The selection process is broken down into the following steps:

  1. Utilizing vehicles with road analyzing equipment, the City performs a condition assessment of all paved (concrete and asphalt) streets within its jurisdiction and compiles ratings into a database.

  2. Using the condition ratings, the City employs modeling software to identify and help guide where to apply various construction/treatment methods on its major and local streets.

  3. Considering the identified treatment options together with other infrastructure/utility needs, the City then programs work based on available funding.

  4. The City then develops projects to address streets and implements the construction work on an annual basis.

Most of the street construction work occurs through projects developed as part of the City's Street Resurfacing Program. The City plans work on major streets as part of the Capital Improvements Plan process. Residential streets are selected on an annual basis through the Resurfacing Program. Currently, the program operates by selecting a different area or cluster of areas in the City each year, and focuses the local street construction work within those areas. This provides a couple of benefits:

  • Better construction pricing by consolidating much of the work into one area or cluster.

  • Less ongoing disruption to neighborhoods by completing a sizable amount of work in an area over a single construction season.

It is not surprising that streets in poor condition attract the most attention and generate the most complaints. Typically, once a street has deteriorated to this point, the only viable options are either major resurfacing, rehabilitation, or reconstruction. Residents may submit request via email to [email protected] or by phone at 734.794.6410. Staff take into account issues submitted via A2 Fix It.

If you would like to reach out to staff directly, please leave the following information:

  • Name of the Street

  • Limits (i.e. from First Street to Second Street)

  • Your address and contact information (in case we have any questions)

  • Any specific remarks or comments​