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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.

By asphaltsyst8314705, Feb 16 2017 02:32PM

Our roads are being used more frequently every year, and the increased demands are taking their toll on our highway infrastructure. In 1997, a report called Status of the Nation's Surface Transportation System: Condition and Performance was brought before Congress, highlighting the fact that the pavement surfaces of just under 50% of rural interstate highway and just under 60% of urban highway have been rated in fair to poor condition. The decline in standards is only getting worse.

There is a greater public expectation for safety, excellence and performance which has driven the demand for increased levels of service by the highway agencies that care for our roads. The strain on the available budget is evident. Highway agencies have had to reshuffle their priorities, focusing on maintenance and preservation of the roads over creating new stretches of highway. The main focus has to be on longevity and quality, rather than creation of new highway systems.

For every new stretch of road comes an increased demand for maintenance and upkeep. The cost of construction and repair of more than 6 million kilometers of road is actually one of our nation’s primary areas of infrastructure expenditure – one of the biggest levels of expenditure in American history. Our roads and highways, and the necessary infrastructure to keep them functional, represent a huge asset that is worth every penny of investment that can be spared.

Deterioration of the roads is currently proving to be a huge drain on time and resources. The problem is self-perpetuating; if areas are left to deteriorate the problem becomes exponentially worse, and time and funding is then diverted to repairs while other roads deteriorate. The upkeep of our road systems becomes a losing battle. To fight the decline in quality and functionality that occurs from deterioration, a change of priorities has arisen, which values asphalt prevention over repair. Funding is channeled into ensuring that the stretches of road we already have last as long as possible, instead of waiting for deterioration of the surfaces to happen. This philosophy of prevention allows the budget to stretch further and have a greater impact. It might be difficult to execute this shift of priorities, but it is certainly not impossible.

Repair and replacement of infrastructure will always cost more than prevention, and will divert resources that should be going towards routine maintenance. The cost of inconvenience for people who use the road while the repairs are being completed is not inconsequential. The change of tactics from a reactive to proactive attitude means a reduction in inconvenience, time and cost. The existing roads will be of a higher quality, with reduced maintenance needed and therefore less inconvenience passed on to road users. Pavement preservation is an investment into the infrastructure of our country, and the value of these preventative measures cannot be overstated.

By guest, Sep 16 2016 11:14AM

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