The city of Columbus plans to spend $50,000 to pay an engineering firm to review its inventory of streets and assess their condition so it can stay eligible for a state grant program.

Strand Associates Inc., headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, with a local office in Columbus, will assist the city in updating its pavement assessment management system. A contract between the city and the firm was approved Tuesday by the Columbus Board of Public Works.

Dave Hayward, executive director of public works/city engineer, said the city’s current system is outdated and doesn’t meet Indiana Department of Transportation standards. The state agency wants all cities and counties using compatible formats to combine, sort and compare data, he said.

The work by Strand Associates Inc., which is expected to be completed by March 30, will also help the city maintain eligibility for Community Crossings grants provided by INDOT in 2017. The city was able to meet the requirements this year using an old system, Hayward said.

The grant program provides a 50 percent matching grant for certain street projects that include road and bridge preservation work, roundabouts, road reconstruction projects and Americans with Disabilities Act-compatible sidewalk ramps that intersect with road projects, according to INDOT’s website.

As part of the agreement, Strand Associates Inc. will assist the city with placing its roadway inventory into a geographical information system already in place. It will also generate city maps of the road condition inventory from the GIS system.

Hayward said the updated pavement asset management system will allow charts and graphs to be generated, which can be used to demonstrate needs for certain projects. The city has 260 miles of streets it maintains.

The work by the engineering firm will also provide data so the city can develop its Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan, which Hayward said must be completed in 2017. The plan looks at facilities and programs within the city to determine what types of barriers are being faced by individuals with disabilities, according to the city’s website.

Specifically, Strand Associates will provide determinations of sidewalk locations and evaluate curb ramps to identify locations of importance for the ADA facility inventory, Hayward said.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com