In Marana, we value great roads. The Marana Town Council, officials and staff have always understood that pavement preservation is necessary to keep road quality high and life-cycle costs low, and we have been using pavement preservation techniques for the past 15 years to achieve this quality standard.
Some communities commonly use a mill-and-overlay program to remove the top two inches of asphalt every ten to fifteen years and create a new wearing surface on asphalt pavement as part of a mill-and-overlay program. Without some form of preventive maintenance program during the pavement life cycle, it’s not uncommon for asphalt pavements to need complete reconstruction after 20 to 30 years.
Marana preserves nearly five times more lane-miles of pavement with recurring maintenance techniques, at no additional cost than the traditional mill-and-overlay program. The goal of using pavement preservation techniques, rather than mill-and-overlay, is to keep the pavement’s life-cycle cost low while maintaining serviceability and user satisfaction.
While a regular mill-and-overlay program will extend pavement life just as well as a preventive maintenance program, the life-cycle cost between the two approaches is dramatically different. Preservation techniques are simple and quick processes that take only days to complete. They also produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and save on material resources. Because the cost is five times less than mil-and-overlay, municipalities can save millions of dollars over time using pavement preservation techniques.
Formula for success
The key to having a successful pavement preservation program involves maintaining an inventory of pavement conditions and quantities. In Marana, streets are divided into segments, and town staff will monitor cracks and deficiencies as identified in the Federal Highway Administration’s Pavement Distress Identification Manual. Staff then compares scores of the current assessment to those of prior assessments to determine the rate of deterioration.
Information is also collected from the Pima Association of Governments-sponsored Automated Road Analyzer (ARAN) van to rate the condition of town arterial and collector streets. Data is combined with the town’s pavement preservation program findings to determine the condition of the streets, the degree of need for repair and the type of repair that is most appropriate. The most cost-effective solution is then selected for each street.
Budgeting for longevity
Most agencies know pavement preservation techniques such as crack treatment, fog sealing, slurry and micro surfacing and chip sealing can extend their budgets. Now, residents are beginning to understand the benefits of pavement preservation for all roads, including the ones in fair to good condition. A mill-and-overlay treatment is similar to removing the roof from your home every 25 years and replacing it with new roof. It’s cheaper and more efficient to paint the roof and preserve it over time.
In Marana, we have made great roads a top priority. By keeping our roads on a preservation schedule and doing maintenance before repairs are needed, we keep our costs down and our roads smooth.
Mo El-Ali is the Town of Marana Public Works Director.