Best practices for pavement edge maintenance farm-to-market road system in Texas

William D. Lawson, M. Shabbir Hossain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The problem of pavement edge drop-offs as a maintenance, safety, and liability issue for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is discussed. The objectives for this 2-year research project - to identify and to communicate best practices effectively for pavement edge maintenance - were accomplished by capturing more than 3,700 years of institutional knowledge from maintenance leaders representing all 25 TxDOT districts. The research focuses on maintenance practices for naturally occurring edge drop-offs, with an emphasis on low-volume roads. The key factors causing edge drop-offs are narrow road width or absence of shoulders, traffic volume and type, and adverse environmental conditions. Tracy's law-"if you lose the edge, you lose the road"-provides a key perspective on meeting these challenges and points out that good edge maintenance strategy is important in achieving good roads and that without good edge maintenance, a district cannot achieve good roads. Edge maintenance practices and procedures fall into three broad categories: awareness, preventive maintenance, and edge repair techniques. Road widening, both in-house by using TxDOT forces and by formal contract, emerged as the ultimate practice for long-term treatment of edge problems. Districts use conventional, in-house-modified, and commercially manufactured equipment specifically dealing with pavement edge maintenance to address the edge drop-off issue. Because of the significant financial resources devoted to pavement edge maintenance, several tools are used to improve the planning and allocation of edge maintenance funds.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLow-Volume Roads
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2007

Publication series

NameTransportation Research Record
ISSN (Print)0361-1981


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