Budgeting for Pavement Maintenance

31 August, 16 / Asphalt Repairs, Crack Seal, Patching

By: Ken Estrada, Division Manager – Phoenix Maintenance, National AccountsFireside at Norterra (35) - web

Great looking pavement in your community’s streets or business’ parking lot makes for:

  • The elimination of safety and liability issues (trip and fall hazards and auto repairs);
  • Increased lease/sale values;
  • Better resident/tenant/customer feelings and relationships; and
  • A greater sense of pride of ownership for property owners.

Conventional wisdom would say “worst first” when talking about caring for your pavement. However, the fact of the matter is that while there will always be trip hazards or other unforeseen circumstances that will require immediate action on deteriorated pavement, you should be looking at a preventative maintenance approach. Preventative maintenance will decrease your overall life cycle costs for your pavement. The Asphalt Institute has said that pavement not maintained for 15 years will cost FIVE times more over the life of the asset. I guess it’s true what they say… “An ounce of pavement maintenance is worth a ton of reconstruction!”

In order to have a pavement maintenance program, you have to have the money to pay for it. If you create a budget and set the money aside, you’ll be more apt to actually take care of your pavement. Your budget should reflect at least a 5-year forecast of maintenance. It is not unreasonable to have a 20-year pavement maintenance plan, which is the typical lifespan the pavement.

Pavement maintenance generally consists of the following elements, performed over a period of time:

  • Crack Seal – By far the most aesthetically challenged treatment but no better bang for your buck in keeping water from the pavement foundation. Plan on crack sealing every one to two years.
  • Sealcoat – Basically applying sun and moisture screen to your pavement. This will keep the damaging UV rays and water from penetration. Plan on sealcoating every two to five years.
  • Patching – There will be areas where water infiltrates the soil beneath the pavement which will cause pavement fatigue and a loss of structural integrity. These areas should be removed and replaced (including any wet soil) on an as-needed basis. Plan on doing this every time you sealcoat.

If your pavement has not been maintained by the previous owner or manager, you may have to take some more aggressive measures to extend the life of the asphalt such as a chip seal, slurry seal, or even an overlay. But if you stay ahead of pavement maintenance, these measures will be few and far between.

When you set up your budget, look at the costs that it will take for the period of time that your pavement maintenance plan projects. Take that total dollar amount and divide it by the periodic increments (monthly or annually) for which you will set that money aside. Put those funds into a separate account… sometimes called a reserve account. This account may be as sophisticated as you choose as you factor in interest rates, cost escalations, etc. Regardless, just start your budgeting process today so that you can maintain one of your most valuable assets…your pavement!

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