Better Roads

October 2014

Better Roads Digital Magazine

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RoadScience 10 October 2014 Better Roads "Agencies may decide to no longer use surface treatments, such as microsurfacing, cape seal, or in-place recycling, if they require the installation of curb ramps. The technical advisory will cause agencies to defer preservation projects, and increase project costs by 20 to 40 percent or more." Transition plan will help Regardless of the status of local agency pavement preserva- tion programs, existing federal laws for years have required that agencies with authority over streets, roads or walkways to have developed a transition plan and complete structural changes like curb ramps by Jan. 26, 1995. "If agencies have complied with these long-standing program access regulations, most needed curb ramps will already be in place," said Doug Hecox, FHWA acting associ- ate administrator for public affairs, as reported in California Asphalt Magazine. "The joint [technical advisory] addresses remaining barriers between sidewalks and streets to provide access to pedestrian facilities for more than 30 million people with disabilities based on the 2010 Census data." Thus whether they have preservation programs or not, agencies without their full complement of curb ramps and other amenities need a transition plan from their current state to a network that is fully accessible and ADA-compli- ant, says Steve Mueller, P.E., president, Stephen Mueller Consultancy in Colorado. Mueller, who just launched his consulting practice after retiring as pavement and ma- terials engineer for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Colorado Resource Center, has a long history of involvement with pavement preservation, pavement recy- cling, and asphalt materials and construction. He also is a former district engineer for the Asphalt Institute, and pave- ment management engineer for Aurora, Colo. "The law is designed to provide pedestrian mobility to everyone in our society," Mueller tells Better Roads. "Agencies need to understand how accessible their roads currently are, and develop a good inventory of ramps and other access features, such as sidewalk width and anything else needed to accommodate people who are physically challenged, and make the changes they need," Mueller said. Colored "truncated domes" or tactile indicators are re- quired for citizens with vision problems, he said. "They are detectable with canes and by foot," he says. "If a signal is present an agency would have to implement audible signals. The agreement between the DOT and DOJ said 'if you are doing any alterations to the paving surface, the roadway must be made completely accessible.'" The issue then becomes which preservation treatments make for alterations, and which don't. "Microsurfacing and slurry surfacings are close to the same product, except for polymer modification in the former," Mueller says. "If slurry seals are a maintenance technique, and micro surfacing an alteration, it does not make any technical sense whatsoever. I am very concerned about the engineering principles that were applied in this agreement, and that the DOT decisions were taken at a high level without adequate technical involvement and review. When basic engineer- ing principles are ignored, and basic materials aren't well Photo courtesy of Tom Kuennen This ramp is present with friction treatment, but it lacks tactile bumps.

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