Morrison County Soil & Water Conversation District Utilizes WorkCentral to Provide Infrastructure Analytics

May, 2017 – County (and Township) “Agencies usually know when a highway or road was built or pavement was last replaced, but they often have considerably less information about the culverts beneath their transportation infrastructure.  Many may have sophisticated, dedicated management systems to help prioritize and maximize investments in bridges and pavements.  In contrast, culvert locations are not always marked or even known, making them more difficult to manage.  Counties commonly rely on maintenance staff to observe and report culvert problems before they become urgent, especially if they lack more formal management systems; an example, maintenance forces watch for small dips in the pavement as they drive.  When transportation agencies know culvert locations and conditions and can identify and execute repairs before too much damage has occurred, they can greatly extend culvert lifespans." - FHWA

To address drainage structures that do not fall within the bridge management process, Morrison Soil And Water Conservation District (MSWCD), Morrison County Public Works, and the Townships of Morrison County are working together to create a comprehensive County-Wide Drainage Plan.  There are thousands of drainage structures with spans that are less than 10 feet and this partnership will provide the much needed, coordinated management of these hydraulic control structures as roadway load restrictions are adjusted for efficiency.

The condition assessment goals are many, but there are several high priorities:

  • Improve Public Safety
  • Reduce Risk & Costs Associated with Drainage Structure Failures
  • Provide Budget Planning Accuracy
  • Provide Real-Time Potential Drainage Structure Failure Awareness
  • Increase County Wide Cost Savings With Pro-Active Maintenance Planning
  • Create Efficient Maintenance That Saves Time and Money With Optimized Activity
  • Monitor Drainage Structure Life Cycles in Real Time
  • Move to Engineering Data Analysis and Away From Costly Limited Accuracy Spread
  • Sheets and Low Value Data Entry Solutions/Practices to Control Flooding.

To accomplish these goals, this County-Wide partnership is deploying several new strategies and innovations that will help them with the inspection, documentation, planning, and awareness of their drainage structures on their total system.  At the heart of this system is a real time strategy to address the constant change that occurs from the effects of climate, soils, materials and population growth.  MSWCD and Morrison County Public Works are looking to use data driven by centimeter GPS, LiDAR data, and GIS to evaluate changes and, in the future, potentially hydraulic analysis and drone technology.  Looking forward, MSWCD and Morrison County Public Works expect to monitor rain fall event effects and review/inspect potential failures with this database, in real-time.  Helen McLennan, Morrison Soil and Water Conservation District District Manager, and Steven Backowski, P.E. Morrison County Public Works Engineer, agree that a Comprehensive County-Wide Drainage Plan will help them with their planning and oversight as years progress.  Morrison County, as a whole, is committed to providing the same level of management oversight that bridges are provided and understand the importance of meeting the above condition assessment goals.

Process Benefits:  Three agency perspectives regarding the importance of a coordinated County Wide Drainage Plan; and Morrison County Public Works and Morrison County Townships inventorying drainage structures and managing their data to extend structure life and reduce costs and risk.  “Section 1203 of the transportation reauthorization act, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), encourages transportation agencies to extend their asset management efforts beyond pavement and bridges to ancillary structures in the right-of-way through the use of risk- based asset management plans." - FHWA

Morrison Soil and Water Conservation District, Morrison County Public Works, and Morrison County Townships are interested in drainage structure rehabilitation strategies that maximize system performance and reduce risk, whether from eroding conditions or increasing precipitation.

Key benefits with real-time, data analytics and business intelligence:

1. Structure inventory precisely documented by routine field inspection catches problems before they become emergencies, reducing liability risks and injuries

2. Data securely viewed/shared with multiple stakeholders

3. Create life cycle cost analysis reporting of structures for greater budgeting accuracy

4. Easily compare inspection trends across years for efficient predictive maintenance