Road - Maintenance

Maintenance

Like all structures, roads deteriorate over time. Deterioration is primarily due to accumulated damage from vehicles, however environmental effects such as frost heaves, thermal cracking and oxidation often contribute. According to a series of experiments carried out in the late 1950s, called the AASHO Road Test, it was empirically determined that the effective damage done to the road is roughly proportional to the Fourth power of axle weight. A typical tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds (36.287 t) with 8,000 pounds (3.629 t) on the steer axle and 36,000 pounds (16.329 t) on both of the tandem axle groups is expected to do 7,800 times more damage than a passenger vehicle with 2,000 pounds (0.907 t) on each axle. Potholes on roads are caused by rain damage and vehicle braking or related construction works.

Pavements are designed for an expected service life or design life. In some parts of the United Kingdom the standard design life is 40 years for new bitumen and concrete pavement. Maintenance is considered in the whole life cost of the road with service at 10, 20 and 30 year milestones. Roads can be and are designed for a variety of lives (8-, 15-, 30-, and 60-year designs). When pavement lasts longer than its intended life, it may have been overbuilt, and the original costs may have been too high. When a pavement fails before its intended design life, the owner may have excessive repair and rehabilitation costs. Many concrete pavements built since the 1950s have significantly outlived their intended design lives. Some roads like Chicago, Illinois's "Wacker Drive", a major two-level viaduct in downtown area are being rebuilt with a designed service life of 100 years.

Virtually all roads require some form of maintenance before they come to the end of their service life. Pro-active agencies use pavement management techniques to continually monitor road conditions and schedule preventive maintenance treatments as needed to prolong the lifespan of their roads. Technically advanced agencies monitor the road network surface condition with sophisticated equipment such as laser/inertial Profilometers. These measurements include road curvature, cross slope, asperity, roughness, rutting and texture. This data is fed into a pavement management system, which recommends the best maintenance or construction treatment to correct the damage that has occurred.

Maintenance treatments for asphalt concrete generally include crack sealing, surface rejuvenating, fog sealing, micro-milling and surface treatments. Thin surfacing preserves, protects and improves the functional condition of the road while reducing the need for routing maintenance, leading to extended service life without increasing structural capacity.

Failure to maintain roads properly can create significant costs to society, in a 2009 report released by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (USA) about 50% of the roads in the USA are in bad condition with urban areas worse. The report estimates that urban drivers pay an average of $746/year on vehicle repairs while the average US motorist pays about $335/year. In contrast, the average motorist pays about $171/year in road maintenance taxes (based on 600 gallons/year and $0.285/gallon tax).

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Famous quotes containing the word maintenance:

    It is an injustice that an old, broken, half-dead father should enjoy alone, in a corner of his hearth, possessions that would suffice for the advancement and maintenance of many children.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592)

    However patriarchal the world, at home the child knows that his mother is the source of all power. The hand that rocks the cradle rules his world. . . . The son never forgets that he owes his life to his mother, not just the creation of it but the maintenance of it, and that he owes her a debt he cannot conceivably repay, but which she may call in at any time.
    Frank Pittman (20th century)

    War is in truth a disease in which the juices that serve health and maintenance are used for the sole purpose of nourishing something foreign, something at odds with nature.
    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749–1832)