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Pavement Preservation Compendium

Partnering Pavement Preservation and Research

by David R. Geiger, P.E., Director of Asset Management, Federal Highway Administration

On February 11, the FHWA convened a meeting of Federal, State, industry, and academic pavement engineers in order to develop a strategy to advance pavement preservation research and development to maximize the benefit of this program to State and local government and the motoring public. The FHWA seeks to better coordinate the efforts of its Offices of Pavement Technology, Asset Management, and Research and Technology, along with the TRB/ NCHRP activities and the SPR programs of State Departments of Transportation. Better coordination among these parties will help to ensure that research needs of pavement preservation programs do not go unmet.

Agencies are now becoming increasingly proactive in preservation initiatives. Many agencies are realizing the cost benefits of a sound pavement preservation program. With over one trillion dollars invested in our Nation's highway system, State, City and County DOT's are evaluating their roadway assets and are recognizing the need to manage that investment. The potential benefits of pavement preservation are numerous, including improved pavement performance, safer roads, higher user satisfaction and reduced overall life-cycle costs. Also, pavement preservation programs facilitate decreasing traffic congestion, increasing mobility and improving work zone safety because preventive maintenance treatments are quicker and more cost-effective than the rehabilitation or reconstruction of existing pavements.

The ISTEA and TEA-21 facilitated the flexible use of Federal-aid highway funds for preventive maintenance activities. Many departments of transportation now have some type of pavement preservation program area. The challenge faced by many jurisdictions is one of determining the best design and preservation treatment applications for required extended performance of the highway pavement. In contrast with new construction or the reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads (for which materials, methods and specifications have been highly developed over the years), the research and experience on pavement preservation materials, performance and equipment lags behind the demand for such knowledge.

Developing national or regional protocols and publishing them as AASHTO standards would improve overall quality and long-term performance of both the treatment and the highway pavement. The availability of such standards would also help disseminate information enabling all agencies to use the most cost-effective treatments for their highways, roads and streets. Additional research is needed to better provide information in the areas of design, materials, specifications, and performance criteria. To best accomplish our goals, we envision both short-term and long-term research and development programs to address the need: defining the scope and preparing work plans, then embarking on a 5-year effort to research topic areas and write the protocols necessary for implementation.

Several industry groups are already working with Federal, State, and academic practitioners to further pavement preservation programs. These groups are enthusiastic about the potential benefits of this project in improving road quality while lowering costs, and will support and provide assistance in the implementation of the proposed research activities.

For your consideration and use we are attaching the minutes of the meeting, as well as several of the presentations and other supporting information. You are encouraged to share this information with your State DOT and interests from maintenance, pavements, materials, and research program managers. If you have any questions, or require further information on this subject, please contact Steve Mueller at (202) 366-1557 or steve.mueller@fhwa.dot.gov or Christopher Newman at (202) 366-2023 or christopher.newman@fhwa.dot.gov.

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Updated: 01/07/2016
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000