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A Common Language for Pavement Preservation

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Which Approach to Pavement Preservation Do You Take?

blog01In order to have efficient conversation regarding pavement preservation, it’s probably best that we get on the same page in regard to the types of maintenance being undertaken. Regardless of how little or well-prepared any agency is, they probably take part in each of the three types of pavement preservation related to managing the assets that are your roads.

First, let’s define Pavement Preservation. Pavement preservation is the combination of all the activities you undertake to keep your roadways in service including but not limited to minor rehabilitation. New pavements or reconstruction do not constitute pavement preservation as they’re more cumbersome undertakings with entirely different solutions.

As Larry Galehouse of the National Center for Pavement Preservation at Michigan State University said, “With pavement preservation techniques, we will improve their performance and extend their life.” Isn’t that everyone’s goal, after all?

With an understanding of pavement preservation, let’s define the types that all successful agencies must undertake.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative Maintenance is all of the treatments and strategies planned in advance of foreseen issues to best avoid pavement failures and extend the lifetime of roadways. Preventative maintenance, in essence, means applying the right treatment at the right time. The most effective agencies maintain roadways before there are noticeable deficiencies. Asphalt sealers, pavement preservers and minor cracking filling are common forms of preventative maintenance.

Reactive Maintenance

Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances arise. That’s a fact of life, and it applies to our pavements as well. This is when we practice Preventative Maintenance. Filling ruts, patching potholes, and any other non-planned maintenance (that is sometimes immediately necessary) constitutes reactive. Reactive maintenance can sometimes be avoided through preventative maintenance, but no one can predict exactly when or where a plow truck will gouge a city street.

Emergency Maintenance

Any situations which put property or life at risk constitute Emergency Maintenance. Buckling concrete slabs, severely large and/or deep potholes, rockslides, sink holes and washouts are all considered emergency maintenance. Hopefully your agency doesn’t have to engage in this sort of maintenance often, if at all, but it’s still important to plan for the various contingencies that may arise.

Next Steps

With a common lexicon established, it’s probably an appropriate time to reflect on which pavement preservation actions your group is currently taking and possibly working towards establishing new program guidelines to extend the life of your pavements.

Contact UNIQUE with this new knowledge to learn exactly how our products are guaranteed to extend the lifespan of your pavement and save you from having to spend thousands on complete reconstruction.