Why Road Maintenance Is Important and How to Get It Done

In Gravel Roads, GreenPave™, Unpaved Roads by Frank Elswick

The foundation of proper road care is routine maintenance, which keeps costs low and reduces the need for major rehabilitation projects down the line.

According to the World Bank, roads “are among the most important public assets in any country,” so keeping them in good working condition is obviously critical. Whether your roads are paved or unpaved, regular maintenance is the key to preserving strength and quality, as well as to keeping costs down in the long run. In addition, effective road maintenance requires regular, routine upkeep, rather than simply intervening when major issues occur.

The Cost of Neglect

In a statement, the World Bank further declares, “Postponing road maintenance results in high direct and indirect costs.” This is certainly true: if damage is tended to right away, then repair costs can be kept to a minimum — neglect, on the other hand, can eventually necessitate more extensive and, therefore, costly repair projects. Furthermore, “Without regular maintenance, roads can rapidly fall into disrepair, preventing realization of the longer term impacts of road improvements on development, such as increased agricultural production and growth in school enrollment.”

Not staying on top of road maintenance can precipitate indirect costs and consequences as well. Poor conditions make roads difficult to navigate for drivers, leading to increased vehicle operating costs (including constant repairs and greater fuel use) and deterring drivers from frequenting these ill-maintained roadways. Puzzlingly, many municipalities opt to rehabilitate dilapidated roads or construct new ones rather than conduct regular maintenance, even though their money and time would be better spent on the latter approach.

What Does Proper Maintenance Look Like?

Road maintenance can take a number of forms, but all share the same end goal: to keep roads as close to their original condition as possible. In many ways, the aim of maintenance is prevention — to keep minor defects from developing into major ones.

Examples of maintenance for unpaved roads include grass cutting, ditch cleaning, culvert cleaning, grading, and re-graveling, while paved road maintenance could include crack sealing, pothole repair, and the repair of paved edges. For unpaved roads, regular grading and reshaping to maintain the road’s crowned shape — and thereby ensure proper drainage and prevent washboarding and potholes — is essential.

Simplifying Maintenance the GreenPave Way

Increasingly, municipalities around the country rely upon unpaved roadways, and Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc.’s GreenPave technology makes maintenance of these roads simple and cost-effective. GreenPave is an innovative road stabilization solution that reduces construction costs by as much as 80%, combining Midwest’s Eco-Pave® base product with native soils to create a surface as strong as conventional asphalt.

The GreenPave system also improves the structural integrity of the road, increases loading capacity (CBR), and reduces moisture penetration, preserving the integrity of the road’s surface and reducing the need for costly repairs and reconstruction down the line — thereby reducing overall maintenance costs for the road. GreenPave is also kind to the environment: preserving unpaved roads allows the local ecosystem to flourish, avoiding damage to surrounding trees and vegetation that paved road construction would put at risk.

Proper road maintenance is essential to keep a municipality’s infrastructure strong. Contact a Midwest representative today to ensure that your roadways remain dust-free, stable, and pothole-free well into the future.


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