One of the most valuable assets in nearly every public agency is its roadway network, and traditional pavement maintenance practices fail to maximize the value of that asset. Pavement preservation was popularized as a methodology in 1976 with the introduction of the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) and PAVER system, but pavement preservation has been practiced since the first pothole was ever filled on a macadam road sometime in the 1820s. Whether an agency calls its routine maintenance “preservation” or not, each one performs pavement preservation – some just do it better than others.
For decades the pavement preservation industry has been seeking widespread validation with a promise that often sounds too good to be true; municipalities can better preserve their roadway networks at a fraction of the cost by implementing varying pavement treatments at strategic times. One of the obstacles we face as pavement preservationists is the lack of an industry standard. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Distress Identification Manual remains an excellent resource, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Greenbook remains the industry standard for design, however there has not been a singular accepted publication which has the broadness to capture the varying existing roadway conditions or available materials suppliers, climate, and local user needs across the country. This is where RoadResource.org comes in.
The Pavement Preservation and Recycling Alliance (PPRA) developed RoadResource.org to fill that informational void. PPRA is an association of contractors and suppliers, and roadresource.org is an extremely detailed (and free) source of information intended to inform municipalities of the best practices for maximizing the life and service of their roadway network.
RoadResource.org has excellent trainings and seminars available; for example, their network bootcamp “Become a Roadvocate” engages stakeholders on how to use their website and in turn benefits the owner agency’s network. The fact that RoadResource.org is a free product of industry contractors and suppliers, and not a proprietary publication by a single consultant, is critical in establishing credibility with skeptical public agencies or first-time preservationists.
As an industry, the biggest battle we face is still public education. A preservationist’s aim is to optimize available budget by applying the right treatment to the right roads at the right time. We increase efficiency; financially, environmentally, and logistically. We are at a point for most agencies in our country where the benefits of pavement preservation are no longer a luxury, but a necessity. RoadResource.org provides the backup evidence to preservationists’ claim. It gives us clout by offering success stories and credibility by listing peers for municipalities to contact themselves. RoadResource.org is the answer to the question “how do I know this will work?” when it comes to pavement preservation, and that answer is essential to engaging more preservationists throughout the country.
Howard Stein Hudson (HSH) is a full-service planning and engineering firm that improves communities through inclusive engagements and creative solutions. Pete Wroblewski is a senior civil engineer and is the PE of record for HSH in Tennessee. He is based out of Nashville but has worked on roadway networks throughout the country, including California, Illinois, and Massachusetts.