Pay Me Now...Or Pay Me (More) Later

A recent report in the Pavement Preservation Journal documents the California Dept. of Transportation's efforts to determine the economic benefits of various pavement preservation technologies. Their findings, which shouldn't surprise anyone paying attention to the pavement maintenance field over the last decade or more, are that there is a documented life cycle cost savings ranging from 20% to 50% when various pavement preservation efforts are made. Specific preservation processes Caltrans evaluated include fog and rejuvenating seals, chip seals, slurry seals, microsurfacing, thin bonded wearing courses, and thin hot mix asphalt overlays, and pavement recycling. The report notes that "Use of preservation treatments may cost from $1 - $6 per square yard while the cost to rehabilitate roads can be six to 10 times more expensive and the cost to reconstruct roads can be 15 to 30 times more expensive." And though the Caltrans study covered work on road pavements, it seems to me the results validate the pavement maintenance concept that contractors rely on to help their clients extend the life of their parking lots. Great information to have in an economy where budgets are tightening, fuel and hot mix asphalt costs are continually rising, and property managers are trying to determine the best use of their maintenance dollars.