Pavement Management Program

Updated September 9, 2020

On July 16, 2020, the City completed a pilot pavement rejuvenator project on Ute Street between Alpine Drive and 154th Lane. This project involved applying a maltene-based product called Reclamite, which, unlike sealcoats, seeps into pavement pores to seal the pavement from within, versus sealcoats, which seal the pavement from above. Another difference is that while sealcoats can be applied to pavements of any age, pavement rejuvenators such as Reclamite are typically applied to newer pavements between one and three years old. However, Reclamite has recently been used on streets up to a decade old, but the results of the applications will not be available for several years. Staff will monitor the benefits of this pilot project, and may propose larger-scale projects in coming years. Numerous cities across the metro area, such as Eden Prairie, Edina, Saint Michael and Woodbury, have successfully completed large-scale pavement rejuvenator projects. Pavement rejuvenator projects also cost less than sealcoat projects. Staff will continue to explore other sealcoat replacement projects in the coming years.

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 appropriate 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 regularly afterward, at least 60 years of useful life is anticipated from new and reconstructed bituminous pavement sections. Standard bituminous pavement management operations include;

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 size and depth, is believed to occur most frequently after a second sealcoat is applied, effectively sealing the pavement surface. Any water trapped within the voids (small air pockets) in the bituminous pavement 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 significant pavement repairs, such as mill and overlay improvements, on any 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 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 four miles of pavement annually on its public street system.

Reconstructions – Pavement reconstruction projects remove and replace severely damaged pavement with new pavement sections. Reconstruction projects may also include removing and replacing damaged concrete curbs and gutters in urban areas or re-grading ditches and re-shouldering on rural sections. The City annually reclaims/reconstructs up to two 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 three years after construction, overlays, or reconstruction and every seven 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 generally recommended 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.