Establish a Three-Dimensional Road Maintenance Policy

Pavement Preservation Journal, Fall 2015

By Luc-Amaury George and Jean-Max Gillet

Whatever a country’s level of development and urbanization may be, its infrastructure is the backbone of its economy and its social and cultural policy. Building up and maintaining an infrastructure network requires a status report at a given moment in time (“T”) and year-by-year forward planning: (“N”, “N +” etc.).

Diagnostic and decision-making tools should open up dialogue and provide political and technical leaders with the means of balancing future needs with projected financing shortfalls. This article describes how government road agencies can adopt an innovative short- and medium-term road network management policy that will serve them well in the future.  On the basis of its feedback from its clients, Vectra sees the emergence of three major trends related to increasingly strong budget restrictions.  Managers will be obliged to:

Rethink their maintenance policies. This often requires a better understanding of the state of the network. In times of abundance, managers could make do with technical and political assessment of the network using internal resources. But in times of budget cuts, objective outsourced assessment of the program may be useful to create a “zero point.”

Cease an all-asphalt policy.  Declining budgets lead managers to refocus on abandoned or neglected road-building techniques, with the agreement of elected officials who had lost interest in them. This is true of surface coatings of cold mixes and maintenance of drainage systems.

Schedule works differently.  Finally, reduced maintenance budgets make possible a fresh look at work programming, in which needs are defined objectively, instead of subjectively via a techno-political consensus.

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