By asphaltsyst8314705, Mar 15 2017 01:42PM
Pavement preservation is an important element of maintaining the system of highways and roads. Preserving the pavement system aims to support the investment made in our highways by prolonging the lifespan of the pavements and satisfying customer requirements. Pavements are preserved by applying treatments to the surface; when done in a timely manner, these treatments maintain the pavement and increase the amount of service life. Not included in preservation is any action that changes the structure of the existing pavement, reconstructs sections of pavement, or creates new sections.
There is a wide range of strategies and techniques that should be implemented in order to achieve effective levels of pavement preservation. Some types of maintenance and improvement are fog, slurry and chip seals, micro-surfacing, sealing cracks, Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) joint sealing, thin-lift overlays, and full- and partial-depth concrete pavement repair. All of these techniques aim to support the existing structure and prevent further damage.
Traditional models of pavement repair have taken a reactive approach, instead of pro-actively preserving the current systems before the deterioration reduces their function and structural integrity. The reactive repairs are implemented when the pavements have already declined to a point where the usability of the pavement is impaired, and this approach aims to fix the damage and restore the surface. However, once the quality of the pavement has already declined, repairs are expensive and time-consuming.
Pavement preservation focuses the majority of time and funding on maintaining the existing structures and pre-empting any serious damage. Inexpensive maintenance treatments are applied, each preventing damage for a number of years. This process reduces cost, is a less time-consuming option, and decreases the amount of disturbance to traffic. For these treatments to be effective, they must be applied before serious damage has occurred. This requires a complete change of focus from reaction to prevention, as preservation is no longer an option once significant deterioration has occurred.
Prevention does not mean that deterioration will never occur – no pavement can exist indefinitely without damage. However, these preventative techniques will ensure that the current structures have the maximum lifespan and usability for customers. The treatments are cost- and time-effective when compared to repairs, and give an improved experience for the customer.
To commit to a change of mindset and approach, pavement preservation requires financial and managerial support on a long-term basis. Rather than a set of techniques, pavement preservation must be an ideology that guides the allocation of resources. Pavement preservation provides better roads for a reduced cost and inconvenience to users, and should be the primary principle that guides highway maintenance and repairs.