Economics of Upgrading an Aggregate Road

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  01/27/2005


Research into cost comparisons between maintaining gravel surfaces on low-volume roads and paving and maintaining those same roads was conducted by studying the annual reports provided by 25 counties throughout greater Minnesota to the Minnesota Department of Transportation State Aid Office. Researchers also conducted personal interviews with transportation officials in some of these counties. The result is an analytical method for estimating the cost of replacing (and maintaining) a gravel road with a surface paved with hot mix asphalt. Upgrading and maintenance activities that were quantified included maintenance grading, re-graveling, dust control and stabilization, reconstruction and regrading, among others. In examining and projecting costs, the authors conclude that depending on the use of historical cost figures may lead to an underestimation of the actual costs associated with maintenance. They also recommend that transportation officials give serious consideration to upgrading roads that experience an average traffic volume of 200 vehicles per day.

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