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LITTLE VALLEY – As data improves on road conditions in Cattaraugus County, crews are better able to find problems and to make more permanent repairs. The use of a new road scoring system has made road priorities more of a possibility.

The E-Score system used by Cattaraugus County rates roads on a series of criteria and rates each thoroughfare on a 10-point range. In that range, 10 is the best possible condition and 1 is the worst, according to county Public Works Commissioner Joseph Pillittere.

Still lacking is the ability to rate the roads on the criteria of ridability, Mark Burr, county engineering director, told members of the Cattaraugus County Legislature’s Public Works Committee.

“The one thing that is associated with all this data is that we know how the road materials fluctuate,” Burr said. “We know that a road is not a 10 forever and it is not a 6 forever. It goes up and down. As far as an investment, we know how long a road can stay at a 10 or a 6 or 7. We know what the treatment needs to be in regards to a mill or overlay.”

That knowledge can help Public Works when budgets are prepared, as well as being able to prioritize the repairs needed to the 396 miles of road in its charge.

The ridability factor can be added, and would offer more detail in that process, but it will come at a cost, Burr said.

“There is a machine out there that uses computers and lasers to make measurements and then uses mathematical equations to figure out the ridability of a surface,” he said. “That would be where we need to look next for improvements. To make that upgrade would cost between $50,000 and $60,000 and would be something we need to consider in the next year or two.”

Under the current system, roads are categorized in three ways, poor, fair and good. In 2012, 2 percent were poor, 89 percent fair and 9 percent good. In 2013, those numbers are 2 percent poor, 85 percent fair and 13 percent good.

“Poor stayed the same, with fair dropping and good raising,” Pillittere said. “That’s what we want to see.”