The effect of winter maintenance practices on the life cycle cost of paved roads

Timo Saarenketo, Pauli Kolisoja, Vesa Männistö, Otto Kärki, Jarkko Pirinen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional


In many countries road maintenance operations have been managed by two usually separate organizations: a) daily maintenance that is charge of, among other things, winter maintenance, and b) pavement maintenance that takes care of operations related to pavement management. This arrangement has mainly worked well but, for instance, drainage management has fallen in many cases into a “grey” area with neither organization having the clear responsibility of ensuring a well performing drainage.

In 2015 Finland, a pilot towards preventative and proactive pavement management started in cooperation between The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, Regional road authorities and Roadscanners. The goal of the pilot was to develop and test new innovative methods to improve the productivity of paved roads maintenance. A further aim was to provide new information on the life cycle costs of various roads and the factors that
increase these costs. In this PEHKO project several new techniques, such as ground penetrating radar and laser scanner technique, were used to monitor the functional and structural condition of the road network in summer, and also during winter.

These PEHKO monitoring results have already revealed findings after a few years that winter maintenance operations and practices, and their timing, can have a major impact on the life cycle costs of the paved roads involved. The two most important issues having the greatest impact on premature pavement failures were a) poor drainage maintenance around private access road intersections, especially frozen or clogged culverts, and b) delayed removal of snow in road shoulders. These problems lead water to infiltrate into the pavement structure causing further frost heave, edge cracking and pavement deformation. In addition, warm periods during the winter time melting unbound base course under the pavement during winter time can also lead to severe pavement deformations. The PEHKO project findings on the frost heave due to melting snow have also been verified in the Aurora instrumented test section in Northern Finland.

The calculations made, based on these results, show that with improved and focused winter maintenance practices it is possible to spare up to 20-40 % (50-60 million euro) from annual paving costs to be used in another targets causing backlog.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the XVI World Winter Service and Road Resilience Congress
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeD3 Professional conference proceedings
Duration: 7 Feb 202211 Feb 2022
Conference number: XVI




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