The 2022 PASER Ratings have been completed, offering communities a look at the quality of roads across Michigan.

The ratings are a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Transportation, local road commissions and other agencies every year.

The PASER Ratings, or Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system, look at the current quality of a road and put them on a 1 – 10 scale.

A rating between 8 – 10 means a road is in good condition.

While a rating of 1 – 4 means the road is in poor condition.

“Well, the PASER rating is really where it starts,” said James Lake, with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation.

“An evaluation of those current conditions, and then we can look at available funding,” Lake said. “We can look at other factors like traffic volumes on a given roadway and other safety issues that we want to address with the projects. And then the overall system that helps us prioritize what projects we’ll do in a given year.”

The PASER ratings are basically an eye test for road quality and they require staff to drive every mile of Michigan roads to get a full picture.

It’s a long process that usually kicks off in April and doesn’t end until November.

“It is a very big team effort when we’re in the car,” said Hannah Yurk, a community planner with Networks Northwest. “Because it is takingwe all have opinions on the road, so we have to agree on what the rating should be.”

Here in northern Michigan, Networks Northwest works with counties and MDOT to conduct their research.

This year, around 30% of roads in northern Michigan hit that “good” rating.

And according to Emmet County’s ratings, they’ve actually seen a decline in average rank over the last few years.

But a lower rating can mean a lot of different things for a road.

“We use that information in our asset management practices,” Lake said. “So we’re looking at not only the condition of a given roadway but an estimated remaining service life for that roadway, what kind of fixes we can do like a preventative maintenance fix that would keep it in good condition. Or whether we’re approaching a time where we need to do a more major rebuild on a road.”

But the ratings serve as a guideline for the next year’s projects rather than absolutes for what might get funded.

The funding to conduct these ratings comes from the statewide planning budget every year and Lake said the process hasn’t changed much since it began.

This article originally appeared in Up North Live. For more, click here