Pavement preventive maintenance: Key to quality highways

John Zaniewski, Michael Mamlouk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Highway funding is inadequate to maintain current road conditions under traditional maintenance and rehabilitation policies. Through a preventive maintenance program, pavements can be maintained in a cost-effective manner leading to a better pavement quality at lower total costs. Preventive maintenance is a program strategy that arrests light deterioration, retards progressive failures, and reduces the need for routine maintenance activities. The objective of this strategy is to extend the pavement's functional life by applying treatments before the pavement deteriorates to a condition requiring a corrective treatment, such as a structural overlay. An effective strategy would feature a combination of treatments, such as periodic crack treatment followed by chip sealing. Several highway agencies have used preventive maintenance strategies successfully for both low-volume and high-volume roads. Flexible-pavement preventive maintenance treatments include fog seal, chip seal, slurry seal, microsurfacing, crack treatment, and thin hot-mix overlays. The selection of a preventive maintenance treatment should be based on the condition of the existing pavement, traffic volume, and environmental conditions. Other factors include experience, budget constraints, and political reality. The Strategic Highway Research Program demonstrated that preventive maintenance is cost-effective for roads in the National Highway System. FHWA sponsored an implementation project to develop a preventive maintenance workshop and assist states with evaluation of preventive maintenance treatments. The workshop was presented in more than 20 states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-29
Number of pages4
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1680
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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