Here’s a shocker — 85 percent of Clinton’s roads are a mess. That evaluation, given by Clinton’s city administrator to Clinton City Council members, is not a surprise.

The poor condition of Clinton’s roads throughout the city has been talked about for the past couple years; any group of motorists can easily throw out its own long list of roads to avoid if you want to ensure your vehicle doesn’t risk getting torn apart.

We are happy to see, however, that the Clinton City Services Committee recently was presented a planning document that lists upcoming street projects and divides those projects by status, including those in the design phase, those in the construction phase and potential projects under way in fiscal year 2008-2009.

The council can use the chart as a planning document, as it is a step in compiling an integrative three-, five- and 10-year capital improvement program.

City Administrator Gary Boden said that up until now, the city has focused on what can be done within the fiscal year, which is awkward because the construction season cuts the fiscal year in half. He said that in the future, the city likely will talk about projects on a construction season basis, with regular updates to the council on the progress of the projects.

When one looks at the list, it’s easy to see that a lot is being spent on projects already under way or soon to be started.

But the bad news is, there are so many more streets to be done in the city, with city officials saying it will be years before the problems are corrected. Their hope is that state officials will find a funding mechanism to help pay for the work. Boden says prioritization also is necessary and optimistically points out that more money will be flowing into the community. We assume he is talking about ADM’s expansion and its impact on the community.

Boden said the challenge will be to identify the city’s priorities, which will include some hard choices whether to fix residential streets or main thoroughfares used by the general public, and what to fix first because they’re all a mess. Boden said he thinks the evaluation program will help in the process, which gives the council details of the projects in the design and construction phases so council members can judge the progress of the projects.

While there is a long road ahead for getting the streets fixed, the council’s plan will at least let residents know what is going on. It’s a step in the right direction, but let’s hope prioritization and fiscal responsibility will help bring us to goal.

Our residents, visitors and businesses deserve it.