RoadResource.org played a critical role in maintaining one of Michigan’s County Chip Seal programs, when it was threatened due to personnel turnover. The county was considering reducing the program from 20-40 miles per year to 3-8 miles per year.
As with most road networks, gaining ground with limited budgets is an iterative process. Experts maintain one of the single most important tenets of a preservation program is consistency.
For many years, Lake County was host to a robust Chip Seal Program. The plan, which was based on the principles of pavement preservation had begun to turn the tides on their once deteriorating network. The county was covering anywhere from 20 to 40 miles of road with regular chip seal maintenance each year-- and the results spoke for themself.
In 2020, several dynamics changed within the agency. Preservation dollars were allocated away from the surface treatment program toward other projects. The county began bar sealing (chip sealing only the wheel path or shoulder) bad areas of pavement (just 3-8 miles per year) and hoping to see the same results of the prior plan.
Russell Milan, a PPRA certified Roadvocate with Michigan Paving and Materials, Co. got word that the county was struggling to stay on course. While the agency still had several proponents of preservation within the organization, they were struggling to advocate for the plan internally.
Milan used the county’s PASER reports (see image below) to understand the overall trend of their network was in decline and exacerbated with the recent shift away from preservation.
He brought several county representatives through a “crash course” of the information on roadresource.org. With a focus on the Remaining Service Life Calculator, Milan was able to demonstrate why the preservation program was critical to improving the network.
Afterward, the county representatives created their own user accounts, and after internal deliberation, they were able to advocate for their preservation plan.
Today, the county is planning 30-40 miles of chip seal for their upcoming season. They will continue to monitor the overall health of their network, and check annual plans using the RSL calculation.