For years, Charleston County operated under the idea that the best method for road maintenance meant fixing the roads in the worst condition first. This system proved to be much easier to accomplish in developing stages of the Pavement Management System.
Since the early 2000’s, the nation has seen the price of asphalt increase dramatically, which has driven up the cost to maintain asphalt pavements. Furthermore, Charleston County has seen its road systems grow significantly while its maintenance budget has mostly remained the same. The increasing maintenance cost, growing road system, and insufficient funds began eating away at the health of the Charleston County road network. It became apparent that a better, more efficient way to maintain our infrastructure was needed.
The Public Works Transportation Program has created a Pavement Management Program that provides an efficient management system to maintain infrastructure by using a combination of preservation, rehabilitation, and reconstruction treatments. Through this program, Charleston County will lengthen the life cycle of roadways and reduce the number of failing roads, while saving tax payers money.
The system works out of a database that identifies the condition of:
Based on this system, the department Pavement Manager decides when a road is ready for preservation treatments or needs reconstruction. Roads in good condition to fair condition become candidates for preservation treatments. These treatments prolong the life of a paved road and are less expensive than rehabilitation. Roads in poor to very poor condition are considered for reconstruction, which costs much more than preservation.
Funding for pavement management is divided between the Transportation Sales Tax Allocation Program and allocated state gas tax money called “C” funds. Historically, Charleston County Council has allocated $4 million dollars annually to this program. The “C” fund allocation varies from year to year. “C” funds are distributed by the Charleston County Transportation Committee at their annual funding meeting.