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Turning deteriorated paved roads back into gravel roads : Sheer lunacy or sustainable maintenance policy? Mustonen, Jyri ; Lintilä, Janne ; Mäkio, Tauno

By: Contributor(s): Publication details: Transportation Research Record, 2003Description: nr 1819, s. 96-103Subject(s): Bibl.nr: VTI P8169:2003 Ref ; VTI P8167Location: Abstract: In the late 1980s, many Finnish low-volume gravel roads were paved. This option was reasonable at that time because the price of bitumen was exceptionally low. No heavy structural rehabilitation was carried out on these roads before paving. It was assumed that these cheap and light pavements would last some 5 years. Now many of those roads have reached 10 to 15 years in age, still without any proper reconstruction, and are becoming increasingly deteriorated. For almost a decade now, the Finnish government has been reducing its spending on public roads. Maintenance and repair efforts have been concentrated on the main road network, and the minor network has deteriorated more and more. Calculations show that from the road agency's point of view, upkeep of gravel roads is economically feasible compared with maintaining paved roads that are in poor condition. Therefore, road authorities have converted some of these paved low-volume roads back to gravel roads. In 2001, the Hme, Turku, and Uusimaa road districts agreed on common principles for these actions. Furthermore, they described minimum requirements for each case in which a paved road in poor condition was turned into a gravel road. Public opposition and political resistance were quite strong before these actions, since the gravel roads are seen as a decline of service level. People living along the road, however, generally admit that new gravel roads are more comfortable to drive on throughout the year than old deteriorated pavements. The road agency still has to focus on problems such as dust.
Item type: Reports, conferences, monographs
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In the late 1980s, many Finnish low-volume gravel roads were paved. This option was reasonable at that time because the price of bitumen was exceptionally low. No heavy structural rehabilitation was carried out on these roads before paving. It was assumed that these cheap and light pavements would last some 5 years. Now many of those roads have reached 10 to 15 years in age, still without any proper reconstruction, and are becoming increasingly deteriorated. For almost a decade now, the Finnish government has been reducing its spending on public roads. Maintenance and repair efforts have been concentrated on the main road network, and the minor network has deteriorated more and more. Calculations show that from the road agency's point of view, upkeep of gravel roads is economically feasible compared with maintaining paved roads that are in poor condition. Therefore, road authorities have converted some of these paved low-volume roads back to gravel roads. In 2001, the Hme, Turku, and Uusimaa road districts agreed on common principles for these actions. Furthermore, they described minimum requirements for each case in which a paved road in poor condition was turned into a gravel road. Public opposition and political resistance were quite strong before these actions, since the gravel roads are seen as a decline of service level. People living along the road, however, generally admit that new gravel roads are more comfortable to drive on throughout the year than old deteriorated pavements. The road agency still has to focus on problems such as dust.

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