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As road agencies that are strapped for cash look for ways to optimize their limited dollars, many are taking a much closer look at the practice of pavement preservation.

Pavement preservation techniques are being promoted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as cost-effective and environmentally sustainable strategies designed to extend the life of existing pavements before they deteriorate substantially.

Pavement preservation techniques include nonstructural preventive maintenance surface treatments such as slurry surfacings, crack sealing, chip sealing, micro surfacing, rejuvenation, hot and cold in-place recycling and thin-lift hot-mix asphalt paving; and structural preservation techniques used in concrete pavement restoration (CPR).

Pavement preservation methods prolong pavement life, avoiding high future costs of reconstruction or rehabilitation through the expenditure of lesser amounts of money at critical points in a pavement’s life. Pavement preservation pays off in both the short and long term. Experience shows that spending a dollar on pavement preservation can eliminate or delay spending $6 to $10 on future rehabilitation or reconstruction costs.

We at FP2 Inc. support the adoption of pavement preservation at all levels of government, and work to ensure pavement preservation becomes a part of road programs from coast-to-coast. We invite you to browse these pages to learn more about pavement preservation, and view our quarterly magazine, Pavement Preservation Journal.

NEWS: Caltrans Says ADA Guidance

Applies to Jobs Bid After July 1, 2014

Apr. 3, 2014 – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has decided that the new Department of Transportation/Department of Justice interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) for pavement preservation work applies to jobs bid July 1, 2014, or after. Title II of the ADA requires that state and local governments ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the pedestrian routes in the public right-of-way. An important part of this requirement is the obligation that whenever streets, roadways or highways are altered, curb ramps be provided where street level pedestrian walkways cross curbs.

For nearly ten years, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) considered preservation treatments to be maintenance treatments, not alterations, because they do not structurally change the road. Because pavement preservation treatments were considered maintenance, not alterations, they did not trigger the requirements of the ADA.

But last year, the U.S. Department of Justice took another look at preservation treatments, and working with FHWA, in June 2013 provided new technical guidance which continued to characterize some pavement preservation treatments as maintenance but defined others as alterations.

Projects deemed to be alterations must include curb ramps within the scope of a project. These include micro surfacing, thin lift overlays, open graded surface courses, cape seals, mill-and-overlays, and hot in-place recycling.

Projects deemed to be maintenance, not requiring curb ramps, include crack and joint filling and sealing, surface, chip, slurry, scrub and fog seals, concrete joint repairs and dowel bar retrofits, spot high-friction treatments, undersealing, diamond grinding, and pavement patching.

The DOJ guidance left some discretion to the division offices in terms of a date certain for adherence, and it did not provide guidance as to retroactivity of compliance. Caltrans’ memo provides public agencies certainty on compliance with this new ADA interpretation.

“For all resurfacing projects that are scheduled to go out to bid for construction prior to July 1, 2014,” Caltrans says in a Mar. 17 memo, “[p]rojects may be completed as initially scoped without incorporating the clarification provided in the Technical Assistance … [f] or all resurfacing projects that will go out to bid for construction on or after July 1, 2014: Alteration projects identified per the clarification provided in the Technical Assistance guidance must incorporate required curb ramps.”

In its request for a 2014 implementation date for new projects, Caltrans noted that the addition of ADA curb ramp work – beyond the edge of pavement – will likely double costs and delay the delivery of those projects. The agency also indicated that Caltrans had 109 highway maintenance projects throughout the state that would begin construction within the state for 2013-14, and that 30 of the highway maintenance projects are now considered alterations, with total cost of $62 million.

The 2013 ADA guidance will have a significant financial impact on the pavement preservation/maintenance work of state and local governments, and has the ability to severely damage road network life spans by undermining the rule that preservation be The Right Treatment for the Right Pavement at the Right Time.

Because the government seemingly has arbitrarily chosen between similar treatments as to which preservation treatments are acceptable and which aren’t, the ADA rules may lead to the wrong treatment at the wrong time, or even no treatment if it’s perceived that the right treatment would lead to unaffordable capital improvements. This is counterproductive to road maintenance programs and flies in the face of the pavement preservation mandate of our federal surface transportation legislation, MAP-21.

The cities and towns that will be impacted by the ADA rules the most already are strapped for cash. Compliance with the technical guidance will make it tougher for them to select the proper pavement preservation technique for their programs. Perhaps this is why AASHTO passed a resolution last year recommending that ”the DOT and DOJ work with AASHTO, the State DOTs, and other stakeholders to ensure input from the transportation community and other stakeholders to determine an approach that achieves greater accessibility accommodation without imposing undue costs and delay on critical maintenance activities.”

When alterations are made to roads, ADA requirements should be triggered, but many of the treatments classified in the new guidance as “alterations” such as micro surfacing, thin lift overlays, cape seals and hot in-place recycling to name a few, are widely considered maintenance treatments that do not alter roads.

In 2014 FP2 is gathering data from city, township, county and state road agencies that will document the impact the ADA technical guidance will have on preserving pavements. If you or your agency have a story to tell please contact us.

Separately, we are joining AASHTO to urge the FHWA to take another at the list of treatments it classifies as alterations and maintenance, and use sound engineering and road construction principles to come up with a more appropriate list which will enable state and local governments the ability to best maintain and preserve their road infrastructure with the limited funds they have available.


FP2 Participates in NCAT Pavement Preservation Research

If you are a stakeholder in the pavement preservation community you will benefit from new research on pavement preservation now underway at the National Center for Asphalt Technology.

Pavement preservation research at NCAT is underwritten by FP2 Inc. and its allies, and began late in 2012. It’s just one more way that FP2 works for you!

Click here for our quarterly update.

Nowhere is there a more respected testing facility for bituminous pavements than NCAT, the National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University. For over a quarter of a century, research at NCAT has blazed new trails in asphalt science and pavement performance.

Now – for the first time – pavement preservation techniques are having their day at the NCAT Pavement Test Track as FP2 and its partners document performance there of these techniques in the new NCAT Pavement Preservation Effectiveness Study.

This new study has the potential to scientifically quantify the life-extending benefits of pavement preservation for flexible pavements. It’s designed to evaluate the benefits of a comprehensive list of pavement preservation treatments, and the results of the study should provide highly valuable, measurable data that are not currently available.

The study was initiated – and is being sponsored – primarily by seven state DOTs, but the private sector has its place at this table due to efforts by FP2 and its contributors, who made sure the private sector was a participant in the development and execution of this experiment.

Thanks to FP2 participation, your industry is represented in all aspects of the testing, including conceptual development, application and data gathering methods. Industry also is represented in the data review process prior to the study’s publication.

We believe the results ultimately will boost your business by objectively quantifying the benefits of pavement preservation treatments in practical findings that will be implemented by state DOTs and other road agencies.

To find out how you can participate, or for more information, please contact FP2 executive director Jim Moulthrop at (512).970-8865, jimmoulthrop@gmail.com.