As we move our focus from the past to the present and begin to consider the future, we can see that each era brings quite different challenges.
In the past, the challenge was to upgrade and maintain the asset to meet changing commercial and economic needs. In the recent past and present, the focus was generally on renewing and maintaining the asset, , which led to policies of frequent treatment of the entire surface at regular intervals.
It didn’t matter that the asset hadn’t been fully consumed, the most worn part dictated the lifecycle. The policy worked, even if it might be considered wasteful in today’s world of net zero targets. Sustainability suggests we should replace the worn or defective part rather than the entire item! An example of this is the recent French initiative which rewards resoling a pair of shoes with a €25 rebate.
The realities of global warming and sustainability suggest we should extend the asset lifecycle to reduce the carbon footprint.
Developments in technology have provided the opportunity to do this, just as they have done in human healthcare, where life expectancy has been significantly extended in recent times. By identifying and targeting the issue, a solution can be applied selectively.
Government policies reflect this:
Measure: Climate Adaptation should focus on preventative maintenance more than reactive works. Benefit: Preventative maintenance is less expensive, requires less energy, produces less carbon and is less disruptive to road users than reactive repairs. Dept of transport Ireland. Climate Adaptation Strategy for Regional and Local Roads.
The pothole season: The rain/freeze/thaw cycle at northern latitudes never fails to result in headlines about potholes. Headlines sell papers and politicians make more promises while engineers cringe at the prospect of the “Managed Decline” of our roads. When a pothole appears, a reactive repair is the only solution available. Yet this repair does nothing to prevent the development of the next pothole. The pothole has become the target, as it carries the reward. With a limited budget, it is difficult for a politician to explain to his voters that he is going to spend the money available on preventive maintenance while potholes are ignored!
How can preventive measures co-exist alongside the necessary reactive repairs? A well planned “find-and-fix” campaign can achieve this objective, sealing up damaged areas to prevent future potholes while dealing with reactive repairs. Modern SIP machines have the ability to do this, leading in a cumulative reduction in the pothole count year on year.