Commonly Asked Questions About Pavement Management & Maintenance
How do we choose which roads receive maintenance?
The City of Hillsboro Engineering Department routinely inspects all the pavements within the City before deciding what to do and when to do maintenance. The City looks for common distresses such as loss of aggregates, cracks, and distortions to help determine what is going on beneath the pavement as well as the surface of the roadway. The distresses are recorded in a sophisticated computer software program that considers the roads condition, prior maintenance history, and other factors to help determine the most cost-effective treatment and appropriate time to apply the treatment. The City also looks at available funding and other projects in the area that might influence the selection of the roads. There are always more roads that need maintenance than money and as a result, not every roadway that needs maintenance receives it.
Why did you do maintenance on my neighbor’s street when mine is in worse shape?
Maintaining a roadway is much like maintaining the siding on a house. There are things that can be done to make it last longer, but sometimes it just has to be replaced. Keeping up with the preventative maintenance extends the life of the street just as it would siding on your house and is less expensive in the end. The City spends a large portion of our budget on preventative maintenance because we can maintain more miles of roadway in a better condition for longer with fewer funds. Most likely, your street is already beyond this preventative maintenance stage and will require a more extensive (and more costly) repair. A portion of our annual budget is set aside for this type of work however, it will take time for the City to accomplish all of the more costly repairs that are needed.
What are the different maintenance treatments the City uses?
Crack Sealing and Asphalt Replacement: Crack sealing and asphalt replacement is a preventative maintenance procedure that involves the sealing of cracks and and replacing damaged areas of pavement. It is much like caulking seams and replacing poor sections in siding at home. It prevents water from getting into and destroying the asphalt and surface below and helps extend the life of the asphalt.
Slurry Seals: Slurry seals are also a preventative maintenance procedure that involves spreading a thin layer of asphalt emulsion and fine sands/aggregates over the surface of the street. Like applying paint to the side of your house, a slurry seal will fill in fine cracks and further protect the street from water damage. It can also improve the ability of your car to grip the roadway. Slurry seals are generally applied to local residential streets.
Micro Surfacing: Also a preventative maintenance procedure, micro surfacing is very similar to a slurry seal. Because of changes in the asphalt emulsion it can be applied much thicker than a slurry seal. This allows it to correct problems such as rutting and potholes. Micro surfacing is generally applied to major roadways.
Asphalt Overlays: An asphalt overlay is done when preventative maintenance just cannot fix the defects in the street. The City may have an existing layer of asphalt removed by grinding or milling the surface first, or may just apply the new asphalt over the old asphalt. Either way the street looks brand new when the work is complete.
How will I know when the work is to be completed?
For all types of maintenance, the contractor is required to place “NO PARKING” signs along the streets at least 36 hours in advance of work. The signs will indicate a date or dates for which the parking prohibition is in affect. Work will be completed on those dates unless there is a need to change the schedule due to weather or unforeseen equipment issues. The contractor is required to repost these signs should rescheduling be necessary.
In addition to the “NO PARKING” signs, if your street is receiving a slurry seal, micro surfacing, or an overlay, the contractor is required to place a door hanger on your door. This door hanger will provide additional information and list the dates of planned work.
Will I still be able to get to my home while they are doing maintenance?
If your street is receiving an overlay, micro surfacing, crack seals or asphalt replacements every effort is made to maintain access to your home or business. There are brief periods, when the asphalt or micro surfacing has just been placed and is extremely hot or sticky, that the contractor may close access to your home or business. This is for your benefit as well as the benefit of the road. Emergency access will be maintained at all times. Still, we recommend that if you have pressing appointments, you park your vehicle on a nearby street where work is not planned to ensure you will be able to leave when necessary.
If your street is receiving a slurry seal, it will be necessary to close off access to your home by vehicle for the day. A slurry seal needs several hours to cure before vehicle traffic can be placed on it. Access to the roadways will be shut off at 7 am in the mornings and the roadways will not be reopened until they have completely dried. This should be no later than 5 pm. If you need to leave your residence that day by vehicle, you will need to park your vehicle on a nearby street before 7 am. Emergency access will still be maintained at all times.
How is the street maintenance program funded?
The annual street maintenance program is funded through a mixture of the Transportation Utility Fee, Gas Taxes, and the Oregon Transportation Improvement Act.
Who can I contact for additional information?
If you have additional questions contact the City of Hillsboro Engineering Department at 503-681-6146.