Pavement report sees improvement, decline at airports

Airport pavement conditions at larger Washington state airports are holding steady, while pavements at the smaller airports are declining, according to the recently released 2013 Airport Pavement Management System (APMS) report.

The Washington State Department of Transportation evaluated 100 airports, representing about 150 million square feet of pavement – the equivalent of a two-lane highway stretching 1,400 miles from Seattle to Albuquerque. The report, which is based on 2012 data, assessed airport pavements using a pavement condition index (PCI) ranging from 100 to zero (best to worst).

Some of the key findings include:

  • At the larger, federally funded airports the PCI rating has improved from 72 in 2005 to 80 in 2012.
  • At the smaller, federally funded airports the PCI declined 4 percent, from 78 in 2005 to 75 in 2012.
  • At the smaller, non-federally funded airports, the PCI declined 15 percent, from 78 in 2005 to 66 in 2012.
  • The smaller airports, also known as non-primary airports, need approximately $217 million over the next eight years to eliminate the backlog of major pavement projects.

Typically, pavements above a PCI of 65 will benefit from preventive maintenance actions, such as crack sealing and surface treatments. Pavements with a PCI of 40 to 65 may require major rehabilitation, such as an overlay. Often, when the PCI is less than 40, reconstruction is the only viable alternative.

WSDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration use APMS data to prioritize state and federal funding for airport projects. The APMS is typically updated every five years.

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