Pavement Management

Cumberland, Maryland & its Pavement Management System
Recognizing that its collection of streets (or pavement network) is a valuable asset, and wanting to manage that asset over a long term using preventative maintenance and/or rehabilitation rather than reconstruction on a sporadic basis, the City of Cumberland administrative staff and elected officials have opted to implement a Pavement Management System (PMS). The PMS will allow for an objective assessment of the current pavement network along with its rehabilitation needs, and provide and objective estimate of the funding levels needed for budgeting. Thus providing a system to allow better cost-effective strategies and actions to improve the pavement network and to protect the city’s investment in its pavement network.

Street Survey
In 2006 the city hired Stantec, Inc. to perform a survey of the city streets, and to setup a Pavement Management System (PMS). The survey collected various types of information about the streets including pavement roughness, surface distresses (potholes, cracks, rutting, etc), and pavement strength. Along with the survey information, Stantec entered known traffic information and street structural information into the RoadMatrix PMS software it provided to the city. This software is not just a database, or inventory, of the current street conditions - it can also model the long term performance of the pavements, determine potential rehabilitation strategies and their impact, and recommend implementation of the rehabilitation strategies based on effectiveness and budgetary constraints.

Using the PMS software and the data that was collected, Stantec found that the city had a backlog of street work that would cost approximately $67 million to complete. Realizing that it would not be feasible for the city to fund that amount, they used the PMS to prioritize work and found that $3 million per year was needed to maintain a city wide pavement network at its current level.

Rehabilitation Strategy
In a world where everything was perfect, streets would be rehabilitated (repaired) whenever it was needed. But in the real world there are budgetary constraints, so RoadMatrix performs a budget analysis to prioritize the rehabilitation strategies in the most cost effective manner. Therefore, the street in the worst condition may not be the 1st to be repaired, since it may be a more effective use of the city’s budgeted funds to repair other streets.

For example, it may cost the city $500,000 to reconstruct, or rebuild, a street; but for the same amount of money it may be in the city’s best interest to overlay 4 or 5 streets and extend their life expectancy for another 10 to 15 years.

Prioritized Work
Using the RoadMatrix Pavement Management Software, city staff generated a report of the prioritized work for the 1st 3 years of the Pavement Management Program. One of the things that the PMS can not do is to calculate other infrastructure needs, such as water and sewer lines. So it is up to the city staff to review the reports generated by the PMS, and to make recommendations on which street section improvements may need to be delayed or moved ahead in the scheduling to coincide with planned utility work that will be occurring.

Since the streets will need repaired when underground utility work occurs, if the street or street section is near the year recommended for improvement by the PMS, it is in the city’s best interest to coordinate that street improvement with the utility work or other infrastructure repairs. This saves the city money by not having to repair the same section of the street twice.