Better Roads Staff
• Wyoming DOT in November announced a strategy of preserving the state’s highways and bridges during the state’s current transportation funding crisis.
“In anticipation of major funding decreases, WYDOT is making sweeping changes,” says director John Cox. “WYDOT has shifted its focus away from the kind of reconstruction and improvement projects we’ve been doing for the past four decades into more of a survival mode.”
In a video released by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Cox says changing the department’s focus to preservation will make the decline in the condition of the state’s highways more gradual. “Our primary goal is to preserve the existing highway system as long as possible,” Cox says. “What that does is it kind of staves off the inevitable, because sooner or later we’re going to have to take care of the system by getting underneath the pavement and reconstructing pavements.”
However, this approach will also result in fewer safety improvements to highways and a smaller number of projects designed to accommodate increasing traffic volumes, he says.
• Ohio DOT’s director said in October that his state was shifting to preservation. In today’s lean times, system preservation has become the priority for ensuring serviceable pavements, says director Jerry Wray, P.E., P.S., also in an AASHTO video.
In the video, Wray explores Ohio’s strategy for preserving its highways and bridges during the current transportation funding crisis “There’s a limited amount of resources for an unlimited amount of wants, desires and needs,” Wray says. “We have to focus on the basics: What improves safety, the economy, and the quality of life for the people of Ohio.”
ODOT is working to be leaner, more efficient, and more effective. “We have a responsibility to all Ohioans to get the best value and highest rate-of-return for every dollar we spend,” Wray says. Like Missouri, that also will include public-private partnerships, which due to a change in Ohio law are now allowed.
New ‘Roadmap’ is a Guide
As more governments drift toward pavement preservation, they will become part of a national approach to pavement preservation which was bolstered in 2011 by the release of FHWA’s national Pavement Management Roadmap.
The roadmap is authored by Kathryn A. Zimmerman, Linda M. Pierce and James Krstulovich of Applied Pavement Technology, and helps identify the steps needed to address current gaps in pavement management, and to establish research and development initiatives and priorities.
While the roadmap nominally considers pavement management, the ability to preserve pavements economically via enhanced pavement management is a fundamental part of the roadmap.
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