Cost-Effectiveness of Microsurfacing and Thin Hot-Mix Asphalt Overlays: Comparative Analysis

Microsurfacing and thin hot mix asphalt (HMA) overlays are categories of flexible pavement preventive maintenance that involve an aggregate-bituminous mix laid over the entire carriageway width. This paper presents and demonstrates a methodology for comparing the long-term cost effectiveness of two competing pavement treatments using three measures of effectiveness (MOE) – treatment service life, increase in average pavement condition, and area bounded by the performance curve, and two measures of cost – agency cost only and total cost (agency plus user costs). Only non-interstate pavement sections are considered in the study, and each MOE is expressed in terms of International Roughness Index (IRI) values. For all measures of treatment effectiveness where costs are expressed only in term of agency cost, irrespective of climate severity and traffic loading, it was found that microsurfacing is consistently more cost-effective compared to thin HMA overlays,. An exception occurs when increase in pavement condition is used as the MOE and when both traffic volume and climate severity are high. Under these conditions, thin HMA overlay appears to be more cost-effective. The superiority of microsurfacing in terms of cost is most evident when treatment life is the measure of effectiveness and least evident when increased pavement condition is used. Microsurfacing also appears to be more cost-effective under low traffic loading and low climatic severity. The study methodology results offer significant implications in the field of pavement design, engineering and management. Highway agencies are continuously striving to develop decision trees and matrices for intervention, and it is sought to carry out these tasks on the basis of rational cost and effectiveness analysis rather than subjective opinion. The development of such decision mechanisms can facilitate the design of preventive maintenance strategies for more cost-effective decisions that are based on life-cycle costs and benefits.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 86th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01076778
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 07-3265
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 7:57PM