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Your guide to the most-affordable options for extending pavement life.

Guidelines for the Preservation of High-Traffic-Volume Roadways (R26)


For years, transportation agencies have successfully extended the life of certain types of roads by applying pavement preservation techniques. However, to realize the benefits of these techniques for a broader range of roadways, agencies need a systematic approach that takes into account a variety of road conditions and proper timing of treatments to reduce negative traffic impact.

Relatively small investments in preserving existing pavement can forestall the need for major reconstruction projects. Many effective pavement preservation techniques exist, but until now they have been used, especially in urban settings, primarily for low-volume roads.


A comprehensive SHRP2 report shows that many conventional techniques—and some new ones as well—can be used to extend the life of high-traffic-volume roads and avoid disruptive and costly major rehabilitation and reconstruction projects. Derived from an extensive literature review and a detailed survey of transportation agencies, the report documents successful current practices and provides selection matrices to help match specific high-volume-traffic situations with the best available treatments.

Preservation Approaches for High-Volume-Traffic Roadways and its companion guidelines clarify key factors that affect preservation treatment decisions, including traffic levels, pavement conditions, climate conditions, available work hours, and treatment performance and cost. Preliminary and final feasibility matrices for hot mix asphalt and Portland Cement Concrete-surfaced pavements allow engineers to quickly identify a particular treatment type (such as crack fill) and see whether it is recommended for particular distress types and severity levels. Example decision matrices simplify the complex factors involved and give steps for weighing technical inputs. Appendices summarize treatments and give examples of how the matrices have guided treatment selection.


By helping engineers to more quickly and confidently select the right treatment at the right time for a given pavement, the guides can help transportation agencies embrace preservation as a key strategy in maintaining pavements, thereby saving scarce transportation dollars. And by focusing on more than 20 treatments that have proven cost-effective, these documents also help save money by reducing the risk of choosing preservation.

Follow-on benefits to choosing preservation strategies include reducing congestion and increasing worker and driver safety. Small problems can be fixed before they become big problems, and the public can enjoy a smoother ride.

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