A Perspective on Managing Pavements
By John Heese, APM
Hello everyone my name is John Heese APM and I was very pleased to go through the Accredited Pavement Manager Program from the International Pavement Management Association in 2013. It was my pleasure. I appreciate the opportunity to give you a perspective on managing pavements and some of the conclusions that I’ve made and observations I’ve made over the last 6 to 8 months or a year or so.
Certainly I have been working on managing pavements since 2002 I suppose so quite some time. Some of the observations that I’ve made lately and also seen it in print all in other places I think it’s really important to point out that the pavement management system is actually a misnomer. Software does not make decisions for you. Software doesn’t manage your pavements people do those things. It is pretty obvious but it gets lost in the weeds sometimes and it’s really important to maintain that perspective I think.
Really what we’re trying to do is manage our pavements in the most cost-effective manner possible. Some of our experiences we’ve been on the complex side of things where our processes were only understood by a few and truly the waters are as deep and complicated as you want to make them. You can you can have 60 different predictive curves for your roadway network and if that’s what you need that’s great but I think that that should be a carefully considered option just because you can do something maybe that is mean that you should really.
So some of our focus is pretty safe to say I think from my vantage point has been on pavement management where I would rather have seen it on managing pavements; maybe a subtle distinction but an important one.
Where we now? We are at a place where we’re looking… let me back up just a little bit. I want to be one of those guys that’s continually asking myself am I doing the right things. Are we doing the right things and how would you know? So we are in a position, we are changing some people; we are looking at every piece of our process of managing pavements and see where improvements might be able to be made.
The roadmap that I see going forward; there’s a huge case to be made for keeping things simple and manageable. Are all the pieces right sized for you, your staff, and your network? Again just because you can do something, maybe mean that doesn’t mean you should. How much staff time is realistic? A lot of times agencies I’ve seen out there they have not been realistic about how much staff time it takes to keep their system up and viable and relative and up to date and that’s a big piece there.
Again going forward I hope that we can keep a relentless focus on managing pavements and try to provide the lowest cost of ownership to the taxpayer. How would you do that? On the next slide the lowest cost of ownership try to maintain a broad robust toolbox approach we are trying to get pavements the lowest I think Mr. Galehouse calls ‘the lowest common denominator’, we want to give that road exactly what it needs nothing less and nothing more so we are going to align treatments along the deterioration curve.
It is less expensive over the long run to keep the good roads good so that certainly got to be high up on the list. We’re trying to push out an extended that service life and critical pavement condition indexes or indices, critical PCI, I think it’s important to identify those maintenance opportunities and where they change. The next slide shows the typical deterioration curve where you’ve got preservation up near the top of the curve and then you are getting more expensive and more involved as you go down further down the curve until finally it needs to be replaced. We’ve all seen these curves a million times.
The next slide (above) I tried to draw in some alignment treatments on the PCI curve. You can get out there in the first couple years with your penetrating rejuvenator seal that road up, the surface of the road up at the top of the curve for relatively inexpensive amounts of money. Get out there with the crack seal as soon as you can to keep the water from going down underneath the pavements. There’s a relatively new product that has come to our attention of a High-Density Mineral Bond (HA5®) would be very good looks like a top of the curve treatment.
On down you’ve got slurry seals and chip seals. The slurries we tend to use those in the urbanized areas where the chip usually is going out into the rural areas but we are trying to change that as well and do some collector roadways with our chip seals and then certainly you got recycling then the full-depth reclamation when your pavement is spent. Critical PCIs are shown there a couple of them. Centrally one is a preservation when the candidate is no longer, the roadways are no longer good to preserve and you’ve lost or exhausted those opportunities and it has gone to where it has to be an overlay or a hot in-place or cold in-place recycling and then the other critical PCI is where you can no longer, you can no longer maybe even overlay the road you can’t recycling in place you just don’t have enough structure there left and it’s got to be reconstructed so you want to try to identify those critical PCIs out there in your network and do the lowest-cost treatment before you lose that opportunity.
The next slide shows some crack seal that’s been done out there to slow the intrusion of water into the pavement. The next slide shows some rejuvenator going down and the other side of the road has been sanded. I like this next slide that shows the densification that occurs with a good rejuvenation. You can see that mat has tightened up again and slowing the intrusion of air and water into the surface of the pavement which slows down the deterioration.
The next slide is a slurry seal that we’ve done out there. I would point out that the crack seal has been done so you want to get out there; 6 to 12 months is good but not as sensitive as hot-mix because it is not going to bubble and bump up on you but it is good to get out there ahead of time.
It is pretty hard to overstate the importance of doing good preparation for these ahead of these surface treatments then you get out there and cover up that crack seal and protect it while it is still in good shape and you leveraged that benefit off into the future. Next slide just shows more slurry seal going down and some handwork at the end of that pan there. The next side shows some chip seal going down.
One of the comments that we get, let’s face it is a complaint that you’ve taken a paved road and made it into a gravel road. Well it is a fair point but the next slide though shows that if you if you’ll come in and fog seal those where they are sensitive where folks like the way the black pavement looks to come in fog seal those, those chip seals are at a relatively low cost. Some people think you’ve given a pavement and I love a new pavement and I love for them to think that.
So we are really trying to extend the service life of our pavements by a succession of lower cost treatments higher up on the curve where you can where you can push out and extend that service life at a low total cost.
This is going to save you a lot of money over the long run. On the next slide just a quick concept of remaining service life. If you got a spike coming at you in 3, 5, or 7 years, 6 to 10 I’m show here that’s going to be a lot of extra money and the size of your network a lot of expense and manpower to try to manage all that work and that is if you can get the money.
The next slide I’ve shown that if you identify a spike coming at you if you can treat some of those roads and kick them into another category see now you’re managing your work load off into the future and what goes out across the Nation if everyone did these types of things that would be a managing the workload that is going out into the contracting community so it is more steady for them as well. Big shout out to Blair. Thanks Blair at the International Pavement Management Association and thanks folks.