"Keeping good roads good" is the driving goal of pavement preservation efforts being carried out by highway agencies across the country. These efforts, as well as what the future holds for preservation programs, will be highlighted at the upcoming National Pavement Preservation Forum II. Scheduled for Nov. 6-8, in San Diego, the forum’s theme is "Protecting Our Investment." This theme will be explored in general sessions covering such topics as pavement preservation goals, best practices and achieving customer satisfaction.
Participants also can choose from nine breakout sessions on subjects ranging from how to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of pavement treatments to introducing new products and techniques to highway agencies.
Breakout sessions also will highlight innovative contracts, asset management and tips for stretching funding dollars. A special session on "Toolboxes for Treatments" will provide an overview of pavement management treatments that are successfully being used in state pavement preservation programs.
The conference, which is being sponsored by the Foundation for Pavement Preservation, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Federal Highway Administration, will continue the work begun at the 1998 Forum for the Future. Held in Kansas City, Mo., that event drew 120 participants from 32 states and Canada.
Pavement preservation involves the timely application of carefully selected surface treatments to maintain or extend a pavement’s service life. An effective pavement preservation program includes the use of a range of preventive maintenance techniques and strategies, such as fog seals, slurry seals, thin lift overlays, crack sealing and surface recycling for flexible pavements. Similar treatments for concrete roadways include crack and joint sealing, retrofit dowel bars, partial depth repairs and diamond grinding. These treatments reduce the amount of water infiltrating the pavement structure, slow the rate of deterioration or correct surface deficiencies such as roughness.
Unlike routine maintenance, which is usually performed when the pavement is failing, preventive maintenance treatments must be applied when the pavement is still in good condition, with no structural damage. It is estimated that the use of preservation treatments can extend the life of a structurally sound pavement by five to 10 years.
One highway agency that has made a statewide commitment to pavement preservation is the Ohio DOT. The agency issued new Pavement Preventive Maintenance Guidelines this year and provided training on the guidelines to each of its districts and counties. Showcased in the guidelines are the available pavement preventive maintenance treatments that have been approved for use by current state specifications. The treatments include crack sealing, chip seals, microsurfacing, concrete pavement restoration and drainage preservation. For each treatment available, the guidelines discuss:
- Description and purpose;
- Pavement condition considerations;
- Traffic constraints;
- Design considerations;
- Seasonal construction limitations;
- Unit cost for estimating; and
- Anticipated performance and service.
Ohio has found that the major benefits of preventive maintenance include increased customer satisfaction, improved pavement condition and ride quality, safer roads and lower life-cycle costs. The benefits also include reduced congestion and more cost-effective use of funds.
Preventive maintenance also continues to be a top priority in California, where the Golden State is spending nearly $1 billion this year alone to keep the nation’s most heavily traveled highway system in working order.
Caltrans has dedicated $250 million to fund a series of preventive maintenance strategies, nonconventional asphalt concrete (AC) treatments and pavement warranties. The strategies and treatments include using rubberized asphalt, microsurfacing, rubberized chip seals, polymer modified asphalt and emulsion and recycled AC.
For more information on the National Pavement Preservation Forum II or to register, contact the Foundation for Pavement Preservation at 703/533-0251 or www.fp2.org/.