Pavement Management Program

Updated April 2, 2020

The City of Ramsey maintains over 180 miles of bituminous paved City streets and is entering the sixth year of its current long-term Pavement Management Program (PMP). The primary goal of the PMP is to perform the proper pavement management (maintenance/rehabilitation) operation at the proper time to maximize the life of the pavement as cost-effectively as possible.

When streets are constructed or reconstructed using today’s design standards, and when pavement management operations are proactively performed on those streets on a regular basis afterwards, at least 60-years of useful life is anticipated from new and reconstructed bituminous pavement sections. Standard bituminous pavement management operations include;

· Cracksealing – Cracksealing protects existing pavement by preventing stormwater runoff from seeping through cracks in the pavement and joints between the pavement and concrete curb and gutter and utility castings, minimizing future damage due to wet subgrade soils, especially during freeze-thaw cycles. The City annually crackseals about 25 miles of bituminous pavement on its public street system.

Update - The City has indefinitely suspended its annual sealcoat program due to recently observed pavement damage called “pavement stripping under sealcoats”. This damage, which first appears as shallow depressions in the upper inch or so of bituminous pavement, but later progresses in both size and depth, is believed to occur most frequently after a second sealcoat is applied, which effectively seals the pavement surface. Any water trapped within the voids (small air pockets) in the bituminous pavement then expands and contracts with each freeze-thaw cycle, breaking the pavement surface apart over time. It is also believed that this issue has become more prevalent in recent years because northern tier states have been experiencing increased numbers of freeze-thaw events each winter over the last decade or more. The City currently has no plans to complete major pavement repairs, such as mill and overlay improvements, on any of the damaged street segments. However, spot patching will be completed while the City explores cost-effective options for repairing pavement sections experiencing damage caused by stripping under sealcoats. This includes talking to other cities that have experienced the same issues to see how they are repairing their damaged pavements. The City is also exploring alternatives to sealcoating since this does not seem to be a viable pavement management treatment moving forward. This page will be updated as new information becomes available on this topic.

· Overlays – Overlays protect existing pavement similar to cracksealing and sealcoating, while also increasing the structural or load carrying capacity of the pavement. The City typically overlays up to 4 miles of pavement on its public street system annually.

· Reconstructions – Pavement reconstruction projects remove and replace severely damaged pavement with new pavement sections. Reconstruction projects may also include removal and replacement of damaged concrete curb and gutter on urban sections, or re-grading ditches and re-shouldering on rural sections. The City annually reclaims/reconstructs up to 2 miles of pavement on its public street system.

The City of Ramsey’s current proactive pavement management schedule for improved public streets is generally as follows;

  • Crackseal pavement once at 3 years after construction, overlays, or reconstruction, and every 7 years after construction, overlays, or reconstruction.
  • Overlay pavement 20 years after construction, overlays, or reconstruction.
  • Reconstruct pavement 60 years after construction or reconstruction.

The pavement management schedule for each street segment is adjusted based on actual pavement conditions. City staff annually reviews and rates the pavement condition of all public streets using the Pavement and Surface Evaluation Rating (PASER) system. PASER ratings range from 1 to 10, with 1 being a failed pavement section in total disrepair, and 10 being a brand new pavement section. Staff typically recommends reconstructing pavement sections with PASER ratings between 1 and 3. Overlays are typically recommended for pavement sections with PASER ratings between 4 and 6. Cracksealing is typically recommend for pavement sections with PASER ratings between 7 and 10.

By proactively performing these pavement management operations on a scheduled basis, the useful life of the pavement is maximized as cost-effectively as possible. If proactive maintenance operations are not applied, pavement sections will generally require reconstruction every 30 years, which adds considerable cost to a pavement management program.