Understanding Pavement Preservation

Every $1 spent to keep a road in good condition saves $6 to $14 as the road condition deteriorates and becomes more costly to repair. 

Keeping a road in good condition saves taxpayer dollars!

Keeping “good” roads in good condition also improves traffic safety and reduces auto repair costs that frustrate Michigan motorists.

Michigan is a national leader in pavement preservation – the practice of strategically using preventive maintenance treatments to extend the life of the pavement.  

In 1992, MDOT was one of the first state highway departments to develop a Capital Preventive Maintenance (CPM) program for paved roads. MDOT’s CPM program continues to be a national model.    

What is preventive maintenance?

  • Planned treatment of existing pavements.
  • Protects the pavement by decreasing the rate of deterioration.
  • Treatments add 5 to 10 years to the pavement’s service life.
  • It’s a best practice!
  • It’s not patching potholes; it’s preventing them!

MDOT’s CPM program consists of treatments to seal the cracks and prevent water from damaging the pavement, surface seals, joint repairs, and a range of innovative/emerging technology treatments. 

Preventive maintenance treatments are designed to improve or maintain a road in good or fair condition, extending the number of years a road can serve the motoring public. The number of years a surface treatment adds to the pavement’s life is directly related to the condition of the pavement being treated. That’s why it’s so important to keep roads in good condition. 

Every pothole begins as a crack in the pavement surface.

Cracks become potholes and potholes become craters!

The goal of pavement preservation is to place the right fix, on the right road, at the right time, every time! 

To do that with the limited dollars available to Michigan road agencies takes a long-term planning approach, dedication and the funding to be able to make the best choices for every road, at the right time. It also requires a commitment to educating the public. 

The public often questions why a road agency would fix roads in good condition instead of roads in much worse condition, or why “repairs” are being made to a road that was recently paved. The public can mistake preventive maintenance treatments for a new road; not understanding that cracks in the original surface will eventually reflect through the new surface.

Road agencies also face complaints from motorists assuming contractors didn’t build the road right, substandard materials were used, or the ever-popular notion they’re just wasting money. 

A good public education campaign helps motorists understand that preventive maintenance treatments are as essential to the pavement as oil changes are for the engine in your family vehicle. Like new shingles for your roof, a new pavement surface prevents water from getting below the road where it can cause potholes to form. 

Average Life Span of a Paved Road

The Old “Worst First” Strategy = 20 Years

  Using Preventive Maintenance   = 40+ Years

Pavement preservation protects both roads and budgets
Pavement Preservation is the key to Keeping Good Roads Good – to Preventing Michigan Potholes!