By publicizing performance metrics and resurfacing streets in grids, the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Streets halted a 40-year decline in road quality. The effort earned Director Nazario Director Nazario Sauceda's team the James B. Sorenson Award for Excellence in Pavement Preservation from FP2 (formerly the Foundation for Pavement Preservation).
In 2009, the bureau preserved 1,833 lane-miles – close to, but not quite achieving, the annual goal of 2,000 necessary to keep the network’s pavement condition index (PCI) from dropping below 62.
In 2015, the bureau resurfaced 855 lane-miles and slurry sealed 1,545 lane-miles. That’s the distance from Los Angeles to New York City, and the largest annual preservation program in city history.
"We made it happen by working incessantly -- days, nights, weekends, and holidays -- while embracing innovation and intradepartmental collaboration," says Sauceda.
The bureau earned support for its aggressive preservation program by providing quantifiable data to elected officials and educating residents.
At any time, residents can check the bureau’s website for work in progress, a monthly list of scheduled projects, and pavement condition assessments. This transparency is supplemented through social media, notification mailers, and neighborhood meetings.
Resurfacing 40,242 low-traffic-volume street segments in grids significantly reduces future maintenance costs.
The strategy creates efficiencies that enable crews to apply more slurry seals that last up to 21 years. Fewer residential streets will need to be resurfaced because of this increased level of preventive maintenance.
A public/private partnership in the use of rubberized emulsion aggregate slurry has proven to be an excellent part of the bureau’s plan.
Applying an average 1,300 lane-miles of slurry per year has extended the life of streets that are in good condition. In the same time frame, the annual resurfacing program of 800 to 900 lane-miles per year focused on thin lift overlays and rehabilitating streets.
Jim Sorenson (1949-2009) was senior construction and system preservation engineer at FHWA's Office of Asset Management. Deadline for submitting entries for this year's award is July 1. For more information or to submit a nomination, e-mail Jim Moulthrop at firstname.lastname@example.org.