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Subject: INFORMATION: Maintenance and the Use of Preventive Maintenance on the Interstate System, Office of Program Review - 1995 Review Date: June 18, 1996
From: Executive Director Reply to:
Attn. of:
To: Associate Administrators
Staff Office Directors
Regional Administrators
Regional Directors, OMC
Federal Lands Highway Program Administrator

Copies of the subject report prepared by the Office of Program Review (OPR) are attached. The report summarizes the OPR review team's discussions with field staff and their observations during the nationwide review. The primary purpose of the review was to evaluate maintenance and the use of preventive maintenance on the Interstate System. The review was initiated to provide FHWA with information on various aspects of preventive maintenance usage since passage of the 1991 ISTEA. The review also evaluated the States' Interstate Maintenance (IM) programs and certifications.

The FHWA's maintenance programs have been in an evolutionary process for the last two decades. Prior to 1978, FHWA maintenance programs were wholly compliance based and Interstate funding was primarily only available for new construction. Since then, the various legislative acts have recognized the need for Federal involvement in post-construction programs. The Interstate System is the "backbone" of transportation in the United States. The investment in the Interstate exceeds more than $100 billion; the future investment will determine the level of service which is provided to the highway investors and to some degree, the quality of life in the U.S.

It is clear from the 1991 ISTEA that the Congress is concerned with the preservation of the investment in the Interstate System and endorses new concepts which will assist the State highway agencies in improving their maintenance programs. The FHWA's response to this concern must be to continue or even accelerate the evolutionary process in FHWA's maintenance programs.

Nine State highway agencies and the corresponding FHWA region and division offices were included in the review. The States included were selected based on their variety in program size, geographic region, and the degree of utilization of the 1M fund transfer provisions. To the extent possible, the review team met with all region offices including most Regional Administrators or Deputy Regional Administrators, and Division Administrators and their staff in all nine division offices; and, with the States' top management officials and representatives of their maintenance function. In some cases, State highway district staff were included in the review to ascertain maintenance functions at the field tier of the State highway agency.

The report summarizes the discussions and concerns expressed during the review; provides a background on the transition of FHWA's maintenance programs; provides a brief summary of the States' preventive maintenance practices/policies; and, provides recommendations that warrant further action by Headquarters and, where appropriate, regional unit managers and their staff. No recommendations are included in the report for actions by the State highway agencies since this was not a compliance based review.

The report includes an in-depth discussion which provides support for its recommendations. Overall, the report is well written, informative, and captures many of the thoughts and issues concerning the evolving FHWA maintenance programs. I encourage you and your staff to take time to read the report and consider how the recommendations can be incorporated into your ongoing programs.

Over the next few months, we will be developing an "action program" to facilitate each of the "FHWA Headquarters" report recommendations. During this process, we will be requesting information from each of the region offices concerning actions which have been taken to implement the "FHWA field office" recommendations. For your convenience, a copy of the report recommendations is attached.

If there are any questions regarding the report, please contact Edward Terry, Office of Program Review, at (202) 366-9376 or Jesse Story, Highway Operations Division, at (202) 366-4847.

/s/ original signed by
Thomas J. Ptak for
Anthony R. Kane

2 Attachments


IIA - Perceptions of Maintenance: The team recommends the following actions be taken in order for the FHWA to reorient the current perceptions about Interstate maintenance.

FHWA Headquarters:

  1. Restate the national interest in the Interstate System.
  2. Restate the FHWA's commitment to the Interstate by identifying system preservation as an important program effort.
  3. Refocus FHWA's maintenance program toward systems preservation.

IIB - Interstate Maintenance Program and Certification Under 23 USC 119(b): The team recommends restructuring the FHWA's Interstate Maintenance program to improve program effectiveness.

FHWA Headquarters

  1. Revise 23 CFR 635.507 Subpart E to eliminate the annual IMP update.
  2. Include provisions in the proposed reauthorization bill to retitle 23 U.S.C. 119 to "Interstate System Preservation", promote partnering principals, and eliminate the annual certification and sanctions.
  3. Investigate the possibility of instituting an awards program through the AASHTO and/or highway user groups to recognize "Excellence in Preventive Maintenance on the Interstate System".

FHWA field offices:

  1. Focus on maintenance as an opportunity to add value to a State's Interstate maintenance program and to promote continuous improvement in their maintenance monitoring programs.
  2. Promote improved technical competency in the division office through participation in the systems preservation (pavement, structures, drainage and traffic operations) portion of the State's maintenance program.

IIC - Preventive Maintenance: The team recommends that the following actions be taken to assist the field offices in their efforts to promote preventive maintenance.

FHWA Headquarters:

  1. Adopt a functional definition of preventive maintenance which reflects a preservation philosophy.
  2. Withdraw the existing preventive maintenance policy memorandums. Consolidate and re-issue this guidance as a single document in the Federal-aid Policy Guide (FAPG).
  3. Assume a more active role in identifying and sharing information on the best preventive maintenance practices and procedures, as well as in the promotion of new technologies.
  4. Provide technical assistance to the FHWA field offices in developing cost effective data for specific preventive maintenance practices.
  5. Establish a Research and Technology (R & T) Council which will determine the needs and priorities for activities in the preventive maintenance area.

Region and division offices:

  1. Assume a more active role in promoting and disseminating information on the best preventive maintenance practices, procedures, and new technologies.
  2. Actively promote State, region and division office participation in the "Preventive Maintenance Treatments Showcase/Workshop" and the annual meeting of the AASHTO's Highway Subcommittee on Maintenance.
  3. Promote inclusion of preventive maintenance as a component of the States' National Quality Initiatives program.

IID - Transfer of Interstate Maintenance (IM) Funds: The team recommends that the following action be taken to assist the field offices in their review of a State's request to transfer 1M funds:

FHWA Headquarters issue the proposed Final Policy Statement [FHWA Docket No. 93-10] "Transfer of Interstate Maintenance Program Funds".

Federal Highway Administration

Office of Program Review and Strategic Business Planning

The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways

A Report on the Evaluation of Maintenance and the Use of Preventive Maintenance on the Interstate System


December 1995

Updated: 06/27/2017
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