Whereas tools such as MnPAVE provide an engineer with a sensible, readily available structural design for a given project, there exists no equivalent tool for local agencies to estimate both construction and pavement preservation costs over the anticipated service life. As a result, the pavement selection process at the initial project bid level can be unsatisfactory. Bids can be technically competitive (if, for instance, associated with a low initial construction bid) yet ignore complex, expensive economic issues such as variation in material pricing and/or anticipated preservation costs. Furthermore, from a state perspective, this issue is complicated by the fact that different engineers in different localities (e.g. by city or county) have different ideas about pavement service life and, consequently, estimating costs over that life cycle.
The proposed research will develop a simple, unified, project life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) estimation tool for local pavement engineers in Minnesota. The proposed research will focus on two areas: 1) the development of a LCCA database collecting state and local engineer costs and life cycle estimates for pavement types, materials, construction processes, rehabilitation alternatives, and preservation techniques; and 2) the development of simple, accessible software to allow local pavement engineers to access and use the LCCA quickly.
The final research product will help users: 1) identify key local factors for a given design (e.g. timing, variation in material pricing, material availability or delivery) and estimate costs associated with these factors; 2) identify and estimate costs to preserve (a.k.a. maintain) pavement over intended service life; and 3) produce a simple, direct report comparing designs and costs for different pavement types (e.g. HMA or PCC).