Roads & Paving
Resource roads webinar focuses on extending life cycles
By Andrew Snook
April 30, 2015 – Rock to Road’s first resource roads management maintenance webinar drew approximately 25 attendees interested in learning how to extend the lifetimes of the roads they maintain and build.
Glen Legere, research leader of the resource roads group for FPInnovations, kicked off the presentation by discussing road surface distress and failure modes.
In B.C. alone, at least 450,000 km of road are unpaved.
“The conditions of the roads are directly related to transportations efficiencies,” he said.
This includes transportation efficiency factors such as cycle time and speed, safety, and user costs – like fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance costs.
He said dust, corrugation, ravelling, potholes and ruts are the most common distresses.
“Dust is very often caused by lack of fines, prolonged dry conditions and excessive winter sands,” he said.
Legere offered causes and solutions for each of the distresses, and added that one of the most destructive forces that cause potholes on resource roads is poor drainage, which often comes from poor crown.
To prevent potholes, his recommendations included maintaining crown at four to six per cent, offering additional training for grader operators and having slope meters in graders.
He then discussed cost-benefits and life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA).
“Life-cycle cost analysis is about looking at roads as long-term investments,” said Legere.
LCCA can effectively combine and quantify the costs and benefits that are expected to occur over time.
By using “discounting,” it is possible to evaluate the tradeoffs between initial rehabilitation costs and future maintenance costs, including all anticipated costs and benefits over the life of a road network, he explained.
“The objective is to find the most cost-effective solutions,” said Legere.
Maintenance costs that should be incorporated into an LCCA include routine grading, snow removal, winter sanding, annual reshaping, dust control, repairs, stabilization and resurfacing.
Legere also shared a few of FPInnovations’ latest technologies, introducing the crowd to various tools for planning, monitoring and managing resource road maintenance, including its FPDat Grader and FP Trak, which are currently available for purchase.
FPInnovations is also currently reviewing use of existing smartphone road roughness apps for research purposes.
If each member of the crowd could only take away one lesson learned from the webinar, it should be LCCA-related, according to Legere.
“Use the LCCA approach to make strategic decisions. This is the key message today,” he said.