Since pavements on the South Dakota State Trunk Highway System represent a $2.3 billion investment with a $4 billion replacement cost, managing pavements is a critical, Department-wide concern. A diverse array of policies, procedures, and systems represent influences that can significantly impact the pavement management process. A sampling of potential impacts includes:
conflicting departmental definitions regarding the prioritization of reconstruction, resurfacing, and maintenance needs;
institutional restructuring, which inherently leads to philosophical changes in management processes;
desired project-level improvements that sometimes conflict with highway system or network priorities;
potential changes to pavement design processes as a result of the new Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide currently being considered for implementation by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO);
changes to accounting and budgeting processes that leave uncertainties in the funding for highway projects and highway network planning;
highway maintenance activities that sometimes go unrecorded;
Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 34 and other national asset management enticements;
Outcome of SDDOT Research Project SD2005-01 "SD Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide Implementation Plan", to be completed Summer, 2006;
limitations within the software or computing environment.
Considering the age of the current SDDOT pavement management system coupled with the evolution of many surrounding and supporting processes, a thorough review of the Departments pavement management philosophy, system, and supporting policies is very much in order. By reconciling the inadequacies or inconsistencies that are affecting pavement managements direction within the Department, establishing a full list of criteria that satisfies SDDOT requirements should ensure a more effective management strategy for the state highway system.