As a town within commuting distance of New York City, Fairfield, CT is familiar with traffic. After years of all that traffic taking a toll on its road network, town leadership recognized they had reached a tipping point as more and more residents complained about their failing pavement conditions.
To reverse this negative trend, Fairfield leaders boldly implemented two major roadway initiatives starting in 2008: substantially increase the highway budget to catch up on deferred maintenance and offset the rapidly escalating cost of asphalt, and commit to a balanced program of repairs with a heavy emphasis on preventive maintenance and keeping good roads in good condition.
With 275 centerline miles of roads and the equivalent of another 13 miles in town-owned parking lots, they recognized the immense challenge ahead and knew significant progress wouldn’t happen overnight.
Understanding that spending their increased funding on a “worst-first” program focused on fixing only bad roads is a losing pavement management strategy, the Highway Department spent considerable time researching and evaluating a wide variety of surface treatments and other preventive maintenance tools.
Today, the town utilizes a full suite of preservation treatments including crack sealing, fog seals, chip seals, micro surfacing, cape seals, and cold in-place recycling, as it constantly strives to reduce the taxpayers’ long-term life-cycle costs.
With this robust and balanced pavement preservation program, good roads have been kept in good condition, the backlog of poor roads has steadily been reduced, and the town estimates it has improved its average Pavement Condition Index (PCI) by at least 15 points. And with the network now in mostly good condition, the town expects to gradually reduce its annual operating budget to simply fund an ongoing preventive maintenance plan.
As a result of its successful multi-year program, Fairfield has become well-known as a regional leader in the national trend toward more proactive pavement management, and the town was recognized for this exemplary program by winning the prestigious 2017 ISSA North American Award for Excellence in Pavement Preservation.
Today, the town utilizes a full suite of preservation treatments, and it expects to gradually reduce its annual operating budget to simply fund an ongoing preventive maintenance plan.