Littleton, MA.

On the Fast Track to Better Road Quality

The Town of Littleton, MA has made considerable improvements to its roads since 2017. A fundamental shift from doing mostly full reconstruction to embracing Pavement Preservation has enabled the town to shift from rebuilding about 1 mile of road each year to treating an average 18% of their total network with pavement preservation treatments every year. 

With this approach, under the direction of Chris Stoddard, Littleton’s Director of Public Works, Littleton has experienced a 4.27 point increase in their overall Pavement Condition Index (PCI), from 65 to 69.27 in 3 short years. And he is confident that the town will achieve its aggressive goal of reaching an 80 PCI within the next 3-5 years.

Stoddard explains the concept and importance of Pavement Preservation with this simple analogy:

“Think about what you do when you buy a new car. Do you keep up with the preventative maintenance like oil changes and new tires or do you wait for the car to die and buy a new one? Roads are no different.” 

The Situation

The Town of Littleton, MA is home to just under 10,000 residents and they expect a lot from their local government. Most of the 63 miles of the town’s roads consist of neighborhood routes with up to 400 houses on one street. This can make it extremely difficult to close roads and repave large sections of Littleton’s streets. Treatments with a fast return to traffic have been particularly helpful for residents (and roads). 

The Treatments

Crack Sealing has been the most effective and cost-effective basic need for the town. In 2017, 20 lane-miles of crack sealing were performed to ensure that good roads did not deteriorate. This “mandatory pavement preservation treatment”, as Stoddard puts it, represents the majority of roads treated each year in Littleton. And will continue to be the foundation of the ongoing, cyclical road management plan. 

Micro Surfacing and Fog Seal have also played essential roles in the PCI increase over the past 3 years. And while the Fog Seal treatments have performed well, Micro Surfacing has become a go-to solution because of the performance and faster return to traffic.

“Roads that had micro have performed the best after a long winter.” said Stoddard. 

Using mix designs with heavy doses of polymer additives creates the strength and longevity that can hold up to harsh winter plows. Stoddard has often found himself directing residents curious, or concerned, about the treatment to sections of roads treated with Micro Surfacing in years past. The resulting road quality speaks for itself.