The pavement network is the most valuable visible asset that the city maintains. Even smaller networks are usually valued at close to $100 million. If you are tasked with maintaining such a valuable asset on a dwindling budget, you better make the most out of your investments.
When a municipality is creating a budget plan to allocate millions of dollars to the pavement network, it is considered proper due diligence to base this plan on the most accurate, objective assessment of the network’s condition and need. Reporting of this assessment also falls under statement 34 of The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
Acknowledging that completing a pavement survey is necessary, and recognizing the ways in which it will save your city money are different things, however. Below are three ways in which a pavement survey will help your city instantly save money.
Surface Condition Survey
A pavement condition survey is a complete overview of your pavement network assets. This data is arranged into categories depending on a street segment’s rehabilitation needs. The information is not only required to hold up to accountability standards, such as GASB 34, but it is also important for allocating dollars for pavement rehabilitation treatments.
When a city understands the rehab needs of a road, they can apply the proper treatment to get optimal value per dollar from the investment. This is helpful for budgeting as proper pavement repairs will cost the city fewer dollars in the long term, and “more-than-needed” repairs will be less frequent. This enables pavement managers to redirect budgets to segments that are a wiser investment for the city and its citizens.
A surface condition survey covers the basics for a city looking to optimize its pavement management budget. For those that are really looking to save money, however, structural testing is an extremely valuable addition. Through the structural testing process, pavement managers can make much more accurate assessments to the need, cost, and remaining lifespan of street segments.
Structural testing immediately saves a municipality money in wasted repairs. If a structural analysis reveals that a road’s base is failing, the city can often defer surface maintenance until reconstruction dollars are secured. This prevents pavement managers from having to repeat work on failing streets.
Conversely, this more accurate testing may also allow pavement managers to save money by utilizing lighter surface repairs to roads that maintain a stronger base. This helps the city succeed with lighter and less expensive repairs on certain pavement segments where it is appropriate, without causing long-term harm to the overall value of the network.
The budget and rehabilitation projections following a pavement survey are of enormous value to a municipality concerned with optimizing its pavement budget. These projections take into account various annual budget levels, the condition analysis, and price of optimal rehabilitation efforts for segments in distinct condition ranges.
Using this type of analysis, a pavement manager can create an accurate model of the pavement rehabilitation plan over the next 5 to 10 years. This can be automatically adjusted using pavement management software to reflect changes or improvements made by the city.
It is a matter of neglect for a municipality to allocate taxpayer dollars towards pavement management without first seeking out the only reliable way to optimize those dollars. By conducting a properly objective pavement condition survey (with or without structural testing) a municipality gains the ability to utilize taxpayer funds in a data-driven, appropriate and equitable manner.