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A Systematic Approach to Pavement Assessment

June 9, 2020

HVJ photo_S Dhakal
Sarvesh Dhakal
Project Engineer - Civil/Pavement Branch

If you have ever thrown your tires out of alignment driving through a pothole, you know that pavement doesn’t last forever; it wears down and experiences distress, which causes a lower level of service or quality over time. At the minimum, pavement defects can be uncomfortable for travelers, leading to a bumpy ride and longer travel time. On the other hand, defects such as rutting and ravelling can be quite dangerous, causing difficulty steering or a greater likelihood of hydroplaning or skidding in rainy weather.

I find pavement assessments interesting because they are so logical and objective. In the old days, whoever complained the most or had the most political connections was mostly likely to have their roads repaired. Today we have a systematic, objective process to make informed decisions that take the subjectivism out of road building, providing an opportunity for better road maintenance when and where it’s needed the most.

Working on these types of projects at HVJ helps both our customers and taxpayers by providing accurate and reliable information for informed decision-making. We’ve completed pavement assessments at both the city and state level and served on the federal distress rating committee that helps write the standards, so have developed a deep understanding of many types of challenges in effective road maintenance.

One of our recent projects included an assessment at 9 U.S. border crossings in South Texas with 2.6 million square feet of pavement. Although the process of inventorying and assessing the pavement was similar to other projects we had worked on, a unique challenge was to combine results from all the 9 border crossing sites so the GSA could comprehensively plan their future budgets. 

Read more about the project here: GSA LPOE Case Study

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