TWM Contributor: Jeff Reis, PE, PTOE

Pavement lifespan

In 1988, the band Cinderella released the power ballad “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” I believe this is how many municipalities, counties, and road districts feel  about their roads and streets. No matter what kind of pavement you have, it has a lifespan. Many roads and streets are ignored until they are in serious condition or “gone.” Once a street is in this condition, the cost to address the pavement goes up greatly. Resurfacing the street may no longer be possible, and instead, the street may need to be reconstructed. The graph below shows the typical deterioration of an asphalt pavement and how quickly it can fall from fair condition to serious condition.

You may have heard of the saying “Right Place, Right Treatment, Right Time.” This really summarizes pavement management. As Engineers, we are looking to evaluate roads to determine what the best treatment is for a particular section of pavement and when it is the best time to apply this treatment. Applying these steps help our clients save thousands of dollars.

Assessment inspections

TWM has performed three different types of inspections to create pavement inventories:

  1. When we first started assessing pavements for clients, we did what we call the “detailed walking” method. This inspection uses ASTM D6433 to sample and section the pavement so that it can be evaluated. Pavement distresses within the samples are quantified in order to calculate a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) for each section of pavement. The PCI is a number from 0-100. The number determines what category of pavement (good, satisfactory, etc.) in which it is located. TWM uses MicroPaver software to aid in this process.
  2. For clients looking for a more cost-effective alternative, we have used our experience with evaluating pavements via the detailed walking method to perform visual assessments. Although it’s slightly more subjective, a visual assessment is a great way to inventory streets on a smaller budget.
  3. The final way TWM has assessed streets is through our mobile LiDAR unit. Using this method, all the streets are driven and distresses are digitally collected using downward facing pavement cameras. The use of mobile LiDAR ensures that all data is captured efficiently, safely, and accurately the first time, eliminating costly return trips to the site. The data can be collected all 12 months of the year, which can be critical when needing to collect data in the winter months. A huge benefit with this method is that topographic data can be acquired at the same time. This is very useful for gathering topographic information on sidewalk ramps that are in need of being updated along with a street resurfacing, thus saving money in the long run. In all cases, the inventory is integrated with a Geographic Information System (GIS) to better manage your inventory.

In addition, TWM has in recent years expanded our pavement management services to include municipal parking lots and alleys. Although the roads and streets are the main focus, parking lots and alleys are important parts of a municipality and should not be overlooked. TWM also offers inspection using the PASER method. Some agencies require a PASER rating instead of a PCI for grants, so TWM can also evaluate pavements in this manner upon request.

Key Benefits of Pavement Management
Once all the inspections have been completed, the information from the system can be used to:

  • Optimize maintenance for a specific budget
  • Identify the ideal budget required to keep the pavement at a desired condition
  • Predict the condition and life span of a pavement
  • Perform quick cost estimating for street repair
  • Provide other information based on your individual needs

Pavement management is a critical component for anyone that maintains any kind of pavement. Contact the experts at TWM to start your pavement management system so we can help make the job of managing your pavement inventory easier while stretching your dollars further!

To learn more about managing roadways, visit our Pavement Management page.