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2021 Pavement Condition Index (PCI) Study Update

May 18, 2022 17:08 | Anonymous

The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) is nearing the completion of our triennial Pavement Condition Index (PCI) Study update, which is completed in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As part of the study, an online Airport Pavement Management System (APMS) is developed to evaluate the current pavement condition and predict future conditions based on the PCI. The APMS is designed to meet FAA requirements of Advisory Circular No: 150/5380-7B – Airport Pavement Management Program (PMP); however, it is customized with unique features by NDAC and developed by a consultant.

North Dakota comprises 89 public airports, of which 72 are paved and assessed as part of the study. The cumulative area of all airside pavement at these airports is approximately 60 million square feet. The current pavement split by airport classification is about 42% for general aviation and 58% for commercial service airports.

The APMS uses the PCI information to develop a maintenance program and help identify the most cost-effective method and recommended timing of rehabilitation projects. The program allows the NDAC, FAA, and airport management to plan and budget for the required maintenance needed to extend the service life of existing pavements. The PCI information and maintenance program also provides us with critical information to assist in updating 10-year individual and statewide airport Capital 

Improvement Plans (CIP).

In the review process of the PCI data, a few trends were noted. One trend was the percentage of asphalt pavements with raveling. Raveling is the dislodging of coarse aggregate on the surface of asphalt pavement. These pavements may show signs of aging and hardening, known as weathering, and result in loss of fine aggregates. Fine aggregate aid in preventing raveling. Together, these distress types may result in the production of Foreign Object Debris (FOD), increasing the potential for aircraft damage. In our region of the country, pavement goes through harsh cold, which is a significant contributor to aggregate loss. The total pavement area with raveling rose from 44% in 2018 to 55% in 2021. This increase of nearly three million square feet is significant. We continue to work to identify solutions to reduce these impacts and further prevent these distress types from creating systematic issues and maintaining safe pavements.

Some may think airport work in North Dakota is slowing down, due to a significant effort over the last decade to rebuild and expand infrastructure across North Dakota, largely on the state’s western side. The fact is that work continues, and project needs have not gone away but instead have shifted or changed. In an unlimited funding scenario, the state’s airports would need an estimated $250 million over the next five years to maintain and rebuild all of the pavement projects identified in the PCI study. This does not include other types of projects, such as pavement expansion projects, building projects, or drainage projects. This affirms that the state has an ongoing challenge in prioritizing its projects within the system.

The included graphic shows the PCI distribution of the 60 million square feet of pavement and the changes in the system that have occurred since the last inspection in 2018. The area-weighted PCI value of the entire airport system is a 77 (on a scale of 0-100), similar to the 2018 and 2015 analyses. Overall, the results show that our state does a great job in maintaining and prioritizing pavement maintenance and rehabilitation. The NDAC will continue to prioritize and emphasize the importance of good shovel-ready projects.

We look forward to working with the FAA and our airports to utilize this data fully and will continue to strive to lead the country and set a strong example through our efforts to preserve and update our airport system.

For more information on the PCI study and to use the interactive database, please visit the following link: https://aero.nd.gov/studies/pavement-condition-index/.

Nels Lund, Airport Planner

North Dakota Aeronautics Commission 

701-328-9650 | nlund@nd.gov

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North Dakota Aviation Association

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Bismarck, ND 58502

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