Johnson County, Wyoming Road and Bridge tames the wild open spaces by documenting work with PubWorks
Johnson County, Wyoming is one of the American West’s great unspoiled places. Seated in Buffalo, Wyoming, the county serves 8,500 residents and manages 550 miles of road across 4,166 square miles. Providing safe travel and efficient road maintenance is a high priority, as well as managing the impact of a booming energy industry.
Since 2005, Johnson County has relied on PubWorks to ease the burden of documentation and effectively manage a large number of assets over a vast area.
Scott Pehringer, Johnson County Road & Bridge Supervisor states that keeping track of County assets, the costs to maintain them, progress of work and having accurate and up-to-date inventory was becoming a challenge for his Road & Bridge Department. To add to the difficulty, a portion of the roads are heavily impacted by mineral and energy industry development.
According to Cheryl Benner, the Department’s Administrative Assistant, PubWorks helps the County determine which assets (such as signs, cattle guards or culverts) take longer to maintain, which need to be replaced more often and which are costing the County more money. This type of analysis is critical to county operations for cost analysis and for budget purposes when presenting to the County Commissioners.
The reports PubWorks generates are extremely valuable to the Road & Bridge department in order to receive reimbursement for Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board grants. Also, the spring run-off in 2011 has caused damage state-wide in Wyoming. The district FEMA office was impressed with the documentation provided by Johnson County Road & Bridge. “Good documentation expedites reimbursement processes as well as provides a high level of transparency to the County and the Department,” Pehringer states.
For Benner, the Project feature in PubWorks is invaluable. Having the ability to track work and all costs contributing to a specific project is essential. “When performing bridge maintenance or repairing a washout caused by flooding, we need to be able to tell people how much it costs us to complete the project. It is also key to understand the breakdown of the costs involved such as employee time, materials costs, fuel costs and equipment costs.” The cost accounting detail in PubWorks helps educate interested parties and highlights why projects are so expensive, says Benner.
With the built-in GIS functions, the PubWorks MapViewer can instantly map everything in PubWorks saving the County valuable man hours. The need for multiple trips when performing asset maintenance has largely been eliminated. With 550 miles of road, looking at the precise location of assets and their specific characteristics can save a lot of driving time and reduce fuel consumption. Necessary tools and materials are gathered before heading out to work on a task.
The benefits of proactive documentation stretch beyond day-to-day management. Johnson County road maintenance data from PubWorks is being used in a study conducted by the Wyoming LTAP. The study is designed to determine if applying calcium chloride to gravel roads reduces maintenance costs.
Benner sends PubWorks reports to the LTAP breaking down the maintenance costs on gravel roads before and after using calcium chloride. Benner says, “LTAP trusts our numbers because they know the information is coming from PubWorks.”