Most people think of pavement preservation as items that are directly related to maintenance and repairs to the pavement surface such as crack sealing, base patching, or slurry and chip seals. But anything that is attached or adjacent to the pavement surface is a candidate for pavement preservation. Surface water is the most damaging item to all pavements. The proper conveyance of surface water in an urban area is of utmost importance. Thus, maintenance of curb and gutter and storm inlets or catch basins is extremely important.

Storm inlets and catch basins are the primary conveyance systems for storm water. They are highly susceptible to deterioration and failure due to de-icing chemicals. Combine this with multiple freeze thaw cycles and the result is heaved or settled storm inlets or adjacent curb sections. As mortar in the concrete rings deteriorates, aggregate fines surrounding the road base cause settlement in adjacent asphalt pavements. This hastens roadways with the introduction of raveled pavement and potholes.

A proper course of action is a comprehensive repair program for storm inlets and adjacent curb and gutter sections. Re-establishing the proper grade at the storm inlet forces water off the road into the storm sewer system. Biannual inspections of inlets greater than five years old is recommended. When reconstructing inlets, concrete riser sections can be ordered that allow for replacement in 12-inch heights rather than using multiple 2-inch concrete rings. We have also found that wrapping the exterior of the inlet in a low-grade fabric eliminates road base fine migration if the mortar fails in the future by reducing pavement settlements.

Because municipalities rarely think of inlets and curb and gutters, repairs are seldom thought of or funded properly. Even though you may think of the inlet and adjacent curb and gutter as roadway structure, a storm water utility may fund these repairs. If you need assistance with how to conduct an annual inspection program, how to include the repair costs into a storm water utility or Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), or how to implement a storm water utility, contact an expert at R/M today

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About the Author

Kenneth Ward, P.E.

Kenneth R. Ward, P.E. 
VP/Office Manager

Ken has been with Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) since 1984. He has worked as a primary client contact, project manager and project engineer on a variety of municipal infrastructure projects including streets, alleys, sewers, storm water management, bike route trails and water mains. He has an extensive background in construction inspection, public involvement and public assessment of municipal improvements.

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