Living the L.A. lifestyle

July 05, 2011
Living the L.A. lifestyle

By The Numbers

100 million tons: The amount of recycled asphalt product (RAP) that we use each year in the U.S., making it the No. 1 recycled product in the country.

3%: The amount of asphalt roadway that we actually recycle in place.

10%: The percentage of citizens that actually understand the concept of pavement preservation, or keeping good roads good longer by using the right treatment at the right time on the right road.

$8 to $16 per square yard (sq yd) vs. $1 per sq yd: The difference in amount that it will take to rehabilitate our aging D- infrastructure if we do not implement an effective pavement management, in-place recycling and preservation program.

The city of Los Angeles, the largest municipality in the U.S., has 28,000 miles of the nation’s most congested roads. In the mid-1970s, William Robertson and Nazario Sauceda of the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) implemented the MicroPAVER pavement management system (available at While their budget and labor resources have shrunk, they have managed to chip away at the backlog of poor roads in need of repair, maintain their good roads longer, and recycle their asphalt roads in place at a tremendous dollar savings.

Today, one southeastern locale, Heard County, Ga., is adopting the same proactive pavement management program. Darold Wiggens, public works director in Heard County, emphatically states, “In the past, our maintenance program in the county has been to go out and resurface the roads once they got in a bad condition, and we can’t afford to do that anymore. We’ve got to find a more efficient way to use our dollars.”

Wiggens took the initiative of hiring the Barnhardt Group ( to evaluate his county roads using the same scientific rating system as the city of Los Angeles.

“Instead of just resurfacing, we are now looking at doing other types of treatments, such as hot in-place recycling, microsurfacing, chip seals or whatever the most appropriate treatment is for the pavement condition index (PCI) of the actual road in question,” states Wiggens. “We are looking for anywhere from a 25% to 50% savings by marrying the most appropriate treatment with the respective PCI rating on each segment of roadway in our county.

“In the past we have had one contractor cover 10 miles each year with $1 million by just asphalt resurfacing. Now with the pavement evaluation and management program in place, we can better understand our pavements and let smaller contractors perform a variety of different cost-effective and eco-efficient rehabilitation and preservation techniques,” adds Wiggens.

When asked if he had any advice for fellow agency personnel, Wiggens simply states, “I think everybody is in the same situation; we all have to figure out how to do more with less. You know the dollars just aren’t there that used to be, so we have to come up with different alternatives."

To learn more about an upcoming, comprehensive pavement management, recycling and preservation online certificate program from the University of Kansas, click here. This particular program will cover all aspects of an effective asphalt pavement management, recycling and preservation program and will provide the student with upwards of 96 hours of PDH credits.

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