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  • Writer's pictureJames Golden

Maintaining roadways is an ongoing challenge for governments and public works departments throughout the United States. The perpetual struggle lies in keeping them in optimal condition while operating within limited budgets. However, a fresh perspective can transform the conversation surrounding road maintenance. By reframing our approach and considering roadways as valuable assets, akin to a collection of luxury cars, we can revolutionize how we view and prioritize their maintenance. This blog delves into the analogy between preventive maintenance for vehicles and roadways, highlighting the benefits of treating roadways as precious investments that deserve protection and care.

The True Cost of Rebuilding: During a recent "lunch and learn" session, pavement professionals discussed the cost of rebuilding roadways. Astonishingly, the expenses associated with major rehabilitation can range anywhere from $125,000 to $500,000 per mile. Even routine milling and overlaying projects often exceed six figures. These staggering figures emphasize the financial burden and highlight the necessity of finding alternative approaches to road maintenance.

The Luxury Car Analogy: Contemplating the considerable costs of road rebuilding, the analogy of luxury cars emerged as a captivating comparison. Imagine owning a garage filled with 100 Lamborghini Huracans. Preventive maintenance becomes paramount to protect and extend the lifespan of these valuable vehicles. The same principles can be applied to roadways. Shifting our mindset from viewing roadways as mere strips of pavement to recognizing them as valuable assets opens the door to transformative possibilities.

Adopting a Preventive Maintenance Strategy: For public works directors and city engineers responsible for managing extensive networks of roadways, the analogy to managing a collection of luxury cars resonates deeply. In this context, the traditional approach of repairing roads until funds are depleted no longer suffices. Instead, a preventive maintenance strategy is essential. By investing in regular maintenance, we can maximize the life expectancy of our roadways and safeguard the value they bring to our communities.

Treating Roadways as Investments: Roadways are more than just transportation corridors; they serve as vital links connecting communities, fostering economic growth, and enhancing the quality of life. By shifting our perspective and treating roadways as investments, we can elevate their quality and extend their lifespan. Rather than merely pouring more money into repairs, protecting and maintaining these valuable assets proactively is crucial.

Benefits of the Mindset Shift: Embracing the concept of roadways as investments offer numerous advantages. First and foremost, preventive maintenance reduces the need for costly reconstruction projects. Regular inspections, timely repairs, and proactive measures help address issues before they escalate, saving time and money in the long run. Furthermore, well-maintained roadways enhance safety for motorists and pedestrians, reduce congestion, and minimize disruptions caused by unplanned closures.

Collaboration and Community Engagement: Transforming the perception of roadways requires collaborative efforts between governments, public works departments, and the community. Raising awareness about the importance of preventive maintenance and involving citizens in the decision-making process fosters a sense of ownership and pride. By engaging the public through educational initiatives and seeking their input, we can build a collective understanding of the value roadways hold for our communities.

Overall, maintaining roadways is a continuous challenge that necessitates a fresh perspective. By shifting our mindset and treating roadways as valuable assets comparable to a collection of luxury cars, we can revolutionize our approach to road maintenance. Implementing a preventive maintenance strategy, akin to providing regular care for high-end vehicles, allows us to maximize the lifespan and value of our roadways. By investing in their protection and maintenance, we pave the way for safer, more efficient transportation networks that enhance the overall well-being of our communities.

Author: James Golden, Founder and CEO of Pavement Management Group

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Welcome back to the RoadINsights Newsletter! Today we have a great topic to discuss: Identifying Backlog and Optimizing your Conditions.

Optimizing Your Pavement Maintenance Network

As a pavement maintenance firm, optimizing your roadway network is crucial to ensure you're getting the best performance for your budget. But what does optimization truly mean? In this blog post, we'll break down the key points from a recent video on network optimization, backlog, and performance to help you get the most out of your pavement maintenance strategy.

The Backlog: It's Not Just About Miles

Measuring your backlog isn't as simple as looking at the total square miles of pavement and multiplying it by a cost-per-mile figure. To truly optimize your network, you need to consider each roadway's condition and prioritize preventative maintenance and preservation activities accordingly. This starts with a proper inventory and condition assessment of your pavement network.

Performance: The Key Indicator of Success

Optimizing your pavement network is all about getting the best performance for your budget. But how do you measure performance? Start by identifying condition categories based on a 0-100 scale. Then, network with other pavement maintenance professionals, talk to contractors and seek out case studies to determine the most effective preventative maintenance and preservation activities for each condition category.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Optimizing your pavement network requires a data-driven decision-making process. Ask hard questions, look for real results, and measure the impact of each activity to determine the best strategy for your budget. Don't just focus on the short-term results; consider the long-term impact of each preventative maintenance and preservation activity.

Employ All Strategies for Optimization

To optimize your pavement network, you must employ all strategies, including mill-in overlays, rejuvenation, crack fill programs, micro-surfacing, slurry, chip seals, and cape seals. Each activity has its place in the optimization process, and by identifying the breakpoints and measuring results, you can determine the most effective strategy for your pavement network.

Optimizing your pavement maintenance network requires a proactive, data-driven approach that considers each roadway's condition and prioritizes preventative maintenance and preservation activities accordingly. By identifying the breakpoints and measuring results, you can determine the most effective strategy for your budget and get the best performance out of your pavement network.

Author: James Golden, Founder and CEO of Pavement Management Group

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Welcome back, everyone!

In today's newsletter, we delve into our favorite slogan and tagline: "PMGs - Data-Driven Decisions Today, Better Roadway Networks Tomorrow." Let's explore the meaning behind this powerful statement and how it relates to pavement management.

The Current State of American Roadways:

In America, we face the challenge of maintaining approximately 2 million miles of paved roadways. Most of these roadways fall under the jurisdiction of municipalities, counties, townships, and villages. Limited funds are allocated yearly to improve our road networks, resulting in a common practice known as "worst of first." This approach addresses road issues based on subjective assessments and available budget, often leaving many roads untreated.

The Power of Data-Driven Decisions:

Data-driven decision-making is crucial in pavement management because it removes subjectivity from the equation. By utilizing the right filters, metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs), we can make informed decisions that deliver maximum return on investment (ROI). It's time to shift away from relying solely on community feedback or political motivations and embrace a systematic approach that optimizes our pavement network.

Breaking Free from the "Worst of First" Approach:

Implementing a data-driven approach to pavement maintenance and repair allows us to escape the limitations of the "worst of first" methodology. While roads in poor condition might be suitable candidates for treatment, focusing solely on these areas fails to address the remaining 95% of the network, leading to further deterioration. To truly solve the problem and maximize ROI, we must view our pavement network as an investment and take a holistic approach.

Treating Your Pavement Network as an Investment Portfolio:

Imagine spending significant money each year on your roadway network, just as you would invest in a financial portfolio. Now, consider entrusting that investment to the whims of your neighbors or party attendees. Would you expect positive results? Probably not. Similarly, optimizing your pavement network requires diversification and informed decision-making based on reliable data.

Tools in the Pavement Management Toolbox:

The key to successful pavement management lies in leveraging data-driven decisions. Fortunately, a wide array of tools are available to help us optimize our pavement portfolio. From rejuvenators for high-PCI (Pavement Condition Index) roadways to crack seal programs for good- to fair-PCI ranges and preservation vehicles for lower good-PCI roads, various treatments exist for different pavement conditions. We can maximize our investment by applying the right treatment at the right time.

Empowering Policy Makers and Improving Roadway Networks:

Adopting a data-driven approach empowers us and demonstrates to policymakers that decisions are based on objective information from trusted sources. As we make data-driven choices and implement the appropriate treatments, our roadway network gradually improves in condition. The ultimate goal is to create better roadway networks for tomorrow through the decisions we make today.

Thank you for joining us in this week's newsletter! By embracing data-driven decisions, we can revolutionize pavement management, maximize our investment, and pave the way for better roadway networks in the future. Stay tuned for more valuable content in our next blog post!

Author: James Golden, Founder and CEO of Pavement Management Group

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