Road Science Tutorial
Indiana Embraces Preservation
The state of Indiana has embraced pavement preservation as a means of optimizing its program funding, and is implementing it from border to border.
“We have a comprehensive pavement preservation approach for Indiana statewide, using both in-house and contract work,” says Will Wingfield, public information officer, Indiana DOT. “It’s part of a larger, asset management-approach to how we manage our transportation network.”
Two distinct programs are ongoing at Indiana DOT, Wingfield says. “We have the Major Moves program, brought about by the 75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road,” Wingfield tells Better Roads. “For that we received an upfront payment of $3.85 billion. Once our bonds were paid off, the rest of the money was dedicated to economic development and transportation infrastructure, much for state highways. In 2006, this provided a program for major reconstruction and capacity increases that had been discussed for decades, but never were able to move forward due to funding.”
In 2008, a separate Major Preservation program was started. “One of the people who helped bring it about now is our DOT commissioner [Michael B. Cline, P.E.], and he initiated the program in part to maintain and preserve both our existing infrastructure, and the new infrastructure coming online from Major Moves.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided even more funds for Indiana DOT, and those were used principally for preservation projects. “Many of our Recovery Act project contracts were for preservation, including micro surfacing, ultrathin bonded wearing courses and thin HMA overlays,” Wingfield says. “We also undertook joint patching and sealing projects for our concrete pavements. We were able to ‘have our cake and eat it too,’ as we were able to address a lot of the pavements that were in terminal condition with Major Moves, as well as begin to preserve those that weren’t with ARRA funds.”
The preservation efforts have turned out well for Indiana, Wingfield says. “Indiana still has more Recovery Act projects in the system than any other state in the union, in part because we had many pavement preservation projects that were smaller in dollar figures, and these projects don’t involve significant design and environmental work. As a result we were able to invest the money in more projects, more quickly, than anyone else.”
Indiana uses available pavement data such as roughness, age of pavement or date of last rehab and traffic volume to anticipate the rate at which the pavement might deteriorate or rut. “If you look at those four parameters at the system level, it will indicate what the candidate projects will be,” Wingfield tells Better Roads.
“We then turn that information over to our districts, which are much more familiar with the maintenance requirements and specifics of each of the road segments, and they refine the list further,” he continues. “We follow that up with field checks, in which the pavements are driven or walked to confirm condition, and lastly we may undertake coring or falling weight deflectometer tests to better assess the structural condition of the pavement layers beneath the surface.”
Further, a new Capital Asset Management department within the state government now identifies funding based on need. “A bridge, roadway, mobility and safety asset team analyzes the data and identifies which projects are of the highest priority, are most cost-effective, and make sure they get executed in the proper time frame,” Wingfield said.
In-house preservation techniques include crack filling and sealing. “In recent years, we’ve been using our inhouse crews to do chip-sealing,” Wingfield says. “There have been some public education challenges with chip seals, because they are identified with gravel roads or county highways, whereas we now are using them on state highways that may be less rural and get more, higher-speed traffic.”
Contracted services will include micro surfacing, ultrathin bonded wearing courses and HMA overlays 3/4-inch deep with finer gradations, Wingfield says.
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