Invest early for greater return on investment: How to maximize asset life with pavement management

February 11, 2022

cracked pavement

Our technology-focused, fast-paced world has created increased demand to deliver consumer goods in an efficient and expedient manner. Truck delivery logistics depends heavily on our nation’s roadway infrastructure, which are comprised of different types of paved highways, roads, and bridges. Paved roadway surfaces require consistent maintenance using proactive pavement management plans to avoid significant deterioration and repair costs, and to maintain human welfare and safety standards for all vehicle users. In 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) compiled an infrastructure report card that rated our country’s roadways as a “D,” and further estimated that over 40% of our roads are in poor to mediocre condition.

Simultaneously, businesses, school systems, universities, and hospitals that own paved surfaces (i.e., parking lots, drive lanes, walking surfaces, etc.), are faced with several challenges in managing their assets. Facility owners balance many things: daily operations, purchasing equipment, maintaining their facility, employee satisfaction, safety, and more. Pavement assets are rarely considered for annual budgets when potholes or cracks are limited. The reality is that a failure to plan and invest in routine pavement maintenance through a master management plan typically yields expensive repair and reconstruction costs along with extensive disruptions to the operation.

Pavement maintenance might be little more than an afterthought, but degrading pavement conditions can adversely affect businesses in a variety of ways. Potholes and large ruts can damage trucks and other equipment, affecting the serviceability of these assets. Poor pavement conditions will also slow down traffic, which can ultimately lead to service delays. In addition, damaged walking surfaces create a larger probability of injury to pedestrians. How are owners and consultants addressing these issues?

Investing in the long-term performance of pavements

A pavement management plan uses a scientific and scalable ASTM approach to first objectively assess existing assets, then develop maintenance and rehabilitation plans followed by estimated budgetary needs. Pavement engineers and consultants perform Pavement Condition Index (PCI) surveys to understand the types and severity of distresses present on a pavement and provide recommendations to address them.

Our pavement experts advise clients to invest in pavements early to ensure the assets remain serviceable and safe for end-users while optimizing capital expenditures to prolong asset life. This effort will help avoid the cost and delays associated with complete reconstruction of failed pavement systems.

Below is an illustration of our experience with a large community college system client that partnered with Terracon to establish a pavement management system starting in 1996. Over the course of 20 years, we have successfully managed the serviceability and maintenance of the pavement network at the 32 college campuses/properties with an overall budget of about $15 million. Without a pavement management plan, the estimated cost to repair or replace pavement systems at the time of failure or absolute need would have exceeded $50 million. Our experienced professionals can put together a plan to assist facility owners efficiently maintain their pavement systems for years to come.

Andrea Blanchette

Andrea Blanchette is a pavement engineer and group manager for Terracon’s Minneapolis office. Andrea has nearly 12 years of experience in the pavements, pavement forensics, and construction materials industries. She has assisted the private sector as well as municipalities including cities, counties, and townships with pavement management plans intended to improve the network condition through pavement maintenance and preservation techniques.



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