Pavement Management Primer Part 3 (The Three-Legged Stool System)

The Three-legged Stool System: THE MEAT FOR THE FUNDING MONSTER

If you’re going to set up a three-legged stool system of pavement management and

succeed with it, it’s basically three steps.

You’ve got:

• Pavement management as #1,

• Pavement preservation as #2,

• In-place recycling as #3.

When you marry all three of these together,you get the three-legged stool system of pavement management.

1. Pavement Management

First of all, many cities and counties typically have no idea how many miles of paved road they actually have. We see this firsthand. I walk this walk and talk the talk every single day. When I’m not making new curriculum for IPMA Academy or for one of our books or one of our audio or DVD sets, my consulting firm is out there on the ground doing pavement distress evaluation day in, day out, all across this great country.

Moreover, many cities and counties have no idea of the condition of these roadways. For $0.02 per square yard, they can have a pavement distress evaluation performed, whether they get their own folks to do it in their house or hire an expert consulting firm.

Now if you do hire an expert consulting firm, I highly recommend that the consultants are selected following the guidelines laid out in the APWA Red Book, the qualifications-based selection guide. So go ahead and get that from if you don’t already have it. The pavement distress evaluation will help to identify the pavement type, whether it’s chipseal or micro-surfacing, hot-mix asphalt pavement or otherwise, along with the pavement condition index, the all important PCI. Now typically, the PCI has zero as undriveable at the bottom end and 100 as brand new at the top end per ASTM 6433. Now other systems may be 1 to 10 or 0 to 60; we’re

talking in the book predominantly and throughout IPMA Academy about ASTM 6433 or 0 to 100 scale with 100 being brand new. Once the PCI is in the computer software, three different types of budgets can be run.

These three scenarios are as follows:

1. A needs-based budget in the scenario the algorithms and the software will compute precisely how much money your city, your county needs each year to get your pavement network at optimum level. That’s an average network level of PCI of maybe 84 to 86. It never gets to 100; 84/86 is optimal. That is like winning the lottery, is what I usually say when we print that binder off and give it to our clients.

We say, “Unless you win the lottery, you’re never going to have enough money to go around to do everything that the software wants you to do.”

2. Next, we have target-driven scenario, and the target-driven scenario is where you go back to city council or the county commission meeting, and you say, “We’re at a network level of PCI equals 57 that we’d like to get to a 70.” So now knowing that you aspire to get to a PCI of 70, the software will actually go out and tell you how much money it will take to do that and how long it will take to do it. So again, that is a target-driven scenario.

A 30,000-foot Overview of Pavement Management:

3. Now the third is generally the budget scenario that we set up. It is where you come to us or you go to your pavement manager, and you say, “I have $5 million a year to spend, and by the way, there is a detailed little analysis in your book that will tell you how much you should be spending each year on your roads. So make sure you refer to that from time to time.” So, in the budget case scenario, you tell the program you’ve $5 million to spend; it will go out there and tell you if you’re under

funded and if your network PCI is going to drop or stay the same or go out. Based on that amount per year, you can tweak it so you can spend various amounts per year. If you have a sudden influx of money, you can run another budget scenario and add that. At this point, I must stress the importance of having a qualified staff to set up your decision tree within a computerized pavement management software platform. There’s two software programs that are used most frequently for cities and counties, and those two are MicroPAVER and StreetSaver. Both programs allow the user to spend just $1,000 or $2,000, and you’re up and running, whether you do it in-house or you hire someone to do it. They’re not expensive, very robust programs, and they can be cloud-based. In the case of MicroPAVER, it can also be on your server.

But most of the industry is heading more towards a cloud-based system with automatic updates, so you never have to worry about automatic backups; you never have to worry about a thing other than putting your data in and managing it. Both programs follow ASTM 6433 and are fully capable of doing all the aforementioned scenarios and the decision tree setup.

Now remember, a real person has to sit down and put in all the unit prices for the decision tree setup. I will reiterate, many pavement management software programs are very sophisticated and robust, and can run multiple scenarios on multiple different types of pavement and functional class codes, but they are all only being fed thin overlay, medium overlay, and thick overlay. That in itself is a recipe for disaster as there are so many tools in the preservation and rehabilitation toolbox to repair your infrastructure.


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