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Who Is Responsible for Road Maintenance?

By Frank Elswick on 09/27/2017

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From elected officials to municipal workers, keeping roads up to par is a team effort.

The onus of road maintenance doesn’t fall on any one individual entity; this complex endeavor requires careful strategizing among a range of players. But who is responsible for this process, exactly? Elected officials, road managers and supervisors, maintainers, operators, road workers, accountants, and data managers all shoulder a portion of the responsibility for developing, implementing, and carrying out an effective maintenance program.

A Network of Players

The Wyoming Technology Transfer Center examines this complex network in more detail: according to their report, road managers are responsible for devising and implementing a road maintenance plan, while the regular road maintenance tasks that follow (dust control, stabilization, re-graveling, reshaping, blading, drainage, isolated repairs, and major work) require a whole separate team of road workers and operators to carry out.

As noted in the report, no maintenance system can function without the full support of the people involved: “Road managers need to convince their crews of the value of a management system, and if additional funding is needed, elected officials or other decision makers may also need to be convinced.”

Indeed, people are always the key factor in road maintenance. As the report further notes, “Having people on staff with the willingness, understanding and skills to make a management system work is critical. All the money, computers and software in the world won’t be of much use if the people operating them don’t understand and believe in what they are doing.”

The Value of Data

Coordinating the efforts of a range of individuals is just the start, however; good data is also essential to any effective road maintenance program. Having access to convincing cost and maintenance data to justify proposed plans helps to ensure that everyone -- from elected officials to road workers -- is on board.

In order to devise an effective plan, road managers first need to assess the health of the road network by analyzing data collected at the site. But this task is too large and complex for road managers alone to tackle. Crucial data can also be gathered from within by agency employees (e.g. road workers and operators), or by dedicated data collectors hired on contract. With all the essential data collected and the the appropriate funding and support secured, road managers are well-positioned to devise and implement road maintenance systems for the site in question.

Midwest’s Road Maintenance Solutions

Road maintenance might be a complex process involving plenty of people and moving parts, but Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. can aid municipalities of all shapes and sizes in making their maintenance endeavors more efficient and cost-effective. Midwest’s team of experts will evaluate your specific needs, examining a range of factors -- including surface strength, dust levels, traffic volume, and soil quality -- and tailoring a soil stabilization or dust control program that maximizes efficiency and results for your site.

Utilizing our patented GreenPaveTM system, Midwest’s experts can engineer road surfaces out of native soils and old gravel roads that perform just as well as conventional asphalt, while reducing construction costs by up to 100%, boosting CBR, and lower recurring maintenance costs.

With our army of experienced professionals in the field and range of proven dust control and soil stabilization solutions, Midwest is an MVP addition to any road maintenance team.

About Author

Frank Elswick

Written by Frank Elswick

Frank is the sales unit manager of Midwest's road construction, natural paving markets.

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