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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Report Document No. 238
    PUBLICATION YEAR 2009
    View PDF Version*

    Document Title
    Biennial Report on the Condition of and Investment Needed to Maintain and Operate the Existing Surface Transportation Infrastructure for FY 2011 and FY 2012

    Author
    Department of Transportation

    Enabling Authority
    33.1-13.02

    Executive Summary
    Section 33.1-13.02 of the Code of Virginia requires the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to report by September 15th of each odd-numbered year on the condition of and needs for maintaining and operating the existing surface transportation infrastructure based on an asset management methodology. This is the second Biennial Report from VDOT. It provides updates on the condition and performance of the VDOT maintained portion of Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure, as well as new information on the condition of locally maintained roads and bridges. The report provides detailed information on estimated investment needs to maintain and operate the existing VDOT maintained network, the standards on which those needs are based, and methods used to conduct the needs assessment. This report includes information on the condition of locally maintained roads, but does not estimate needs to maintain those roads.

    This report presents needs for both investments in major assets and the delivery of services over the next biennium. This Biennial Report differs in structure from the previous 2007 Biennial Report in that it sets out two major categories that comprise the total needs. First, the investments required to meet performance targets and service standards for major assets including pavements, bridges, tunnels, guardrail, signs, pavement marking, signals and technology assets are shown as a group. Second, funds needed to meet service standards for the delivery of all other maintenance and operations services are shown as a second category.

    Based on updated data and expanded use of the modeling approach, the investment needs for the biennium are approximately $3.784 billion, or $1.885 billion and $1.899 billion for FY 2011 and FY 2012 respectively, shown in Table ES-1 in comparison to the FY 2010-2015 Six Year Maintenance and Operations Program budget amounts for these years. The gap between the program budget and the FY 2011 and FY 2012 needs is approximately $923 million, or approximately $461.5 million annually. Detailed biennial needs are shown in Table ES-2.

    The current performance targets for the Interstate and Primary system pavements were used to calculate a proposed level of performance for the upcoming biennium. Interstate and Primary system pavements will require an investment of $734 million over the FY 2011-2012 biennium to meet currently established pavement performance targets so that no more than 18 percent of pavements are deficient. With this level of funding, the performance target for Interstate pavements would be met in 2011 and the performance target for Primary pavements would be met in 2013. However, current FY 2010 funding for the two systems combined is approximately $350 million. An additional amount of more than $33 million would be needed for the biennium to meet this level of performance.

    This report establishes a performance standard for the Secondary system to maintain the system at its current level, that no more than 31 percent of the Secondary system pavements would be deficient. If this performance level were to be funded, the Secondary system pavements would require an estimated $687 million investment over the FY 2011-2012 biennium. At the current level of funding, Secondary system pavements are estimated to continue to deteriorate at a minimum of three percent annually.

    As shown in Figure ES-1, Interstate and Primary system pavement conditions improved slightly from 20.5 percent of Interstate and 24.4 percent of Primary system pavements in deficient condition in 2008 to 20.1 percent of Interstate and 24.3 percent of Primary system pavements in deficient condition in 2009. Secondary system pavement conditions deteriorated from 28.7 percent in deficient condition in 2008 to 31.1 percent in 2009. Pavement conditions overall have deteriorated since 2007 and investment needs have increased 41 percent for Interstate, 45 percent for the Primary system, and 27 percent for the Secondary system.

    The percentage of bridges rated structurally deficient has remained essentially unchanged at 91.5 percent in fair or better condition, down slightly from the 91.6 percent shown in the 2007 Biennial Report. In contrast to pavement needs, bridge needs have not changed significantly since the 2007 report. This is largely because prices for steel and concrete, which are the primary components of bridges, have not increased as much as asphalt, and also because the amount of federal funds available for bridge projects in the Six-Year Improvement Program is much greater than the amount of federal funds for pavement maintenance projects.

    The 2007 needs assessment for FY 2009 and FY 2010 reported $1.493 billion and $1.487 billion in needs for each year respectively. The figures in this report and those in the 2007 report are all reported in “current year” values, meaning the needs for each year are adjusted for inflation based on the official inflation forecast provided by the Virginia Department of Taxation. Based on the Department of Taxation’s figures, FY 2010 was not inflated, FY 2011 was inflated by 4.3 percent, and FY 2012 was inflated by an additional 3.0 percent.

    Estimates of maintenance and operations investments needed have increased 27 percent since the 2007 assessment, largely due to the continued deterioration of pavement conditions and significant increases in the cost of asphalt. Other drivers include more complete inventory data on many assets, in some cases collected for the first time, and updated unit costs for all major maintenance and operations activities. For example, inventory data is now available for the first time for, highway lighting, sound walls, sidewalks, curb and gutter, road edge and object delineators, cameras, dynamic message signs, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) gates, hurricane gates, and traffic sensors. Updated and more complete data was also collected on guardrail, signs, and ditches.

    In the two years since the 2007 assessment was completed, two pavement condition assessments have been conducted and inventory data is now available for 23 types of drainage, roadside, traffic, and intelligent transportation system (ITS) assets, in addition to complete inventories of pavements and bridges that VDOT has had for many years. For pavements, which are the largest single contributor to cost, 100 percent of the Interstate and Primary systems were assessed this past year. Over the last three years, approximately 70 percent of Secondary system pavements have been assessed. The most recent year’s sample of the Secondary system pavements was used to estimate needs for the Secondary system. VDOT has implemented several new computer systems that contribute to improved analysis of needs, through better data and improved system functionality.

    These needs were calculated using an asset management approach as directed by 33.1-23.02 of the Code of Virginia. Since 2004, the quantity and quality of data available to assess the inventory and condition of assets, estimate deterioration, track and quantify work, and develop performance based needs models has improved annually. Sixty-three percent of the needs identified in the 2005 assessment were based on complete or sampled asset inventories, unit costs of work, and models that generate work recommendations based on performance criteria. For this 2009 assessment, seventy-nine percent of the needs reported are based on this approach. The remainder of investment needs is based on actual expenditure information, contract costs, and in some cases, approved FY 2010 budget amounts.

    Significant changes are occurring within the agency that impact estimates of maintenance and operations needs. In response to current economic conditions, VDOT has developed a Blueprint for the Future that includes changes to the way maintenance and operations services are defined, assessed, and reported. The new framework establishes priorities and identifies levels of service for the delivery of maintenance and operations. The framework allows VDOT to more clearly show the relationship between investment needs and service activities, providing greater accountability.

    Specifically, pavements, bridges and tunnels, signals, pavement markings, signs, stripes, guardrail, and ITS assets are considered to be of such critical safety and operational importance that rehabilitation, major repair, and preventive maintenance activities impacting their condition are classified as “asset investments” and shown as one category. Investment activities performed on these assets are designed to change the physical condition of the assets and to preserve and extend their useful life. Asset investment includes those activities required to meet performance targets and services levels for these assets. The biennial assessment identifies $1.103 billion and $1.086 billion, as shown in Table ES-2, in investment related needs for FY 2011 and FY 2012 respectively.

    The remaining maintenance and operations “services,” comprising ordinary and preventive maintenance work, such as cleaning ditches, washing bridge decks, patching pot-holes, debris removal, snow and ice removal, emergency response, incident management, mowing, and equipment management, is the second category of needs. Services also include maintaining rest areas, operating ferries, tunnels and moveable bridges, managing traffic, traffic signal optimization, providing traveler information, and safety service patrols. Each maintenance and operations activity tracked by the agency has been classified as a component of one of five major Service Areas, shown in Figure ES-2, and further classified as either “asset investment” or “service”. The five Service Areas are:

    • Emergency and Safety Response Services;
    • Roadway Services;
    • Traffic Control Services;
    • Roadside Services; and
    • Facility, Equipment, and Other Services.

    Table ES-2 provides the biennial funding needs for maintenance and operations services for each of the five service areas based on service levels described in Appendix B.

    Needs for drainage, vegetation, signs, pavement markings, guardrail, signals, and ITS assets have changed based on priorities and service levels recently developed as part of VDOT’s approach to maintenance and operations. These needs also changed due to better inventory information and updated unit costs. For example, new data indicate inventories of signs and guardrails are considerably higher than previously estimated. Priorities are focused first on safety and then “from the centerline out.” As a result, some services such as vegetation management or drainage management are considered less important than investment related activities on pavements and bridges.

    Needs for operations have increased in some areas and decreased in other areas to reflect changes in priorities. For example, safety service patrol and safety rest area needs decreased reflecting reduced levels of service in those programs, while tunnel needs increased significantly, reflecting the focus on preserving major infrastructure assets. Needs for traffic signals and dynamic message signs increased due to the number of signals and signs needing replacement and the quantity of work needed to ensure these assets continue to function properly.

    The availability of more complete inventory information on major assets is a contributing factor to the increase in estimated needs over those reported in the 2007 assessment. Only slight increases in the unit cost of street and highway construction are expected over the next two years due to the economic recession and slow recovery forecast by many economists. Also, with more complete information now available on the inventory of most major assets, future changes in estimated investment needs are more likely to be a result of changes to unit costs of maintenance or service levels or unforeseen changes that may occur to the condition of the assets, from a major storm for example. The continued investment VDOT has made in data used in this assessment not only supports biennial reporting, but is being used to improve business processes and the cost effectiveness of VDOT’s maintenance and operations program.