BACKGROUND: Various maintenance treatments are employed by highway agencies to slow deterioration and restore condition of highway pavements, bridges, and other physical assets. However, budget constraints and other factors have often led to delaying or eliminating the application of these treatments. Such actions are expected to adversely influence the condition and performance and lead to a reduced level of service, to early deterioration, and eventually to the need for costly rehabilitation or replacement.
Analytical tools are currently available to quantify the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments for highway pavements, bridges, and other assets. However, processes for using these tools to demonstrate the potential savings and performance enhancements resulting from applying maintenance treatments at the right time are not readily available. Research is needed to develop such processes. This information will help highway agencies better assess the economic benefits of maintenance actions and their role in enhancing the level of service of the highway system. In addition, incorporating these processes in asset management systems would provide a means for optimizing the allocation of resources.
Recent work completed under NCHRP Project 14-20 provided further review of some of the issues related to quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments and identified processes applicable to pavements and bridges (see Special Note A). However, additional research is needed to address these and other issues associated with delayed maintenance treatments, particularly for assets other than bridges and pavements, and to develop processes for quantifying the consequences of such delays and help assess the economic benefits of maintenance actions.
OBJECTIVE : The objective of this research was to develop processes for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments on highway pavements, bridges, and other physical assets. The research expressed consequences in terms of performance indicators (e.g., distress and level of service), costs to owners and road users, and other relevant factors and defined delayed maintenance applications by (1) the inability to meet the agency-defined application schedule or (2) the available budget relative to an unconstrained budget (i.e., availability of the funds required to perform all needed maintenance).
STATUS: Research is complete; the final report has been published as NCHRP Research Report 859, Consequences of Delayed Maintenance of Highway Assets.