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 is to develop processes for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments on highway pavements, bridges, and other physical assets. Consequences shall be expressed in terms of performance indicators (e.g., distress and level of service), costs to owners and road users, and other relevant factors. Delayed maintenance applications may be defined 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).
Accomplishment of this objective will require at least the following tasks.
Phase I: (1) Background Review: Collect and review information relevant to the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments on pavements, bridges, and other physical highway assets (e.g., performance/condition and cost). Based on this review, identify analytical tools (e.g., pavement management and bridge management systems) for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments on pavements or bridges and other information to help accomplish the research objective. (2) Processes for Pavements and Bridges: Identify or develop processes for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments on pavements and bridges based on (1) analyses of different scenarios to estimate the consequences of delayed maintenance in terms of performance trends and cost to the agency and to road users, (2) relationships among performance trends, maintenance level of service, and maintenance expenditures, and identifies a method for quantifying the costs associated with achieving an improved level of service, and (3) quantification of the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments recognizing the relationships between performance (or level of service) and cost. Demonstrate applicability of these processes for selected scenarios that encompass different pavement and bridge networks and delayed maintenance situations (including the case of no treatment application). (3) Plan for Developing Processes for Other Physical Highway Assets: Prepare an updated plan (to be executed in Task 5) for developing processes for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments for selected physical highway assets (other than pavements and bridges) and demonstrating their applicability. (4)Interim Report: Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Tasks 1 through 3. Following review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to the project panel. Work on Phase II of the project will not begin until the interim report is approved and the Phase II work plan is authorized by the NCHRP. The decision on proceeding with Phase II will be based on the contractor’s documented justification of the updated work plan.
Phase II: (5) Processes for Other Physical Highway Assets: Execute the plan approved in Task 4 for developing processes for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments for selected physical highway assets (other than pavements and bridges) and demonstrate applicability of the processes for selected scenarios. (6) Final Deliverables: Prepare a final report that documents the entire research effort. The report shall include (1) a research report documenting the work performed in the project and used to develop the processes for quantifying the consequences of delayed application of maintenance treatments and (2) the processes for pavements, bridges, and other assets in a stand-alone format suitable for consideration and adoption by AASHTO (the examples illustrating applicability of the processes should be appended to the processes).