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Public Law 103-305, section 107, amended Title 49, Section 47105, of the United States Code by requiring sponsor assurances that address preventative maintenance for project applications involving airfield pavements. For any project to replace or reconstruct pavement, the sponsor must provide assurance to the FAA that they have implemented an effective pavement maintenance management program. The amendment also provides for the submittal of reports addressing the pavement condition and the management program.

The requirement to establish a pavement maintenance management program applies to any Sponsor who has used federal assistance to construct, reconstruct, or repair airfield pavement. Each grant agreement that addresses pavement rehabilitation or reconstruction contains a grant assurance that incorparates the obligation for a pavement maintenance program.

Benefits of Pavement Maintenance

The goal of any maintenance program is to provide a safe and operable pavement for the least possible cost. An effective maintenance program will provide the owner with sufficient information to allow them to assess how to obtain the greatest return for funds expended.

A pavement life cycle curve illustrates the useable life of a pavement by comparing pavement condition versus time. In the first several years of a pavements life, the deterioration in pavement condition over time is relatively low. However, at certain point in time, the deterioration of the pavement increases, resulting in an accelerated drop in pavement condition.

Refer to the following caption.


This pavement life cycle curve demonstrates that $1 spent for preventative maintenance early in the pavement life is equivalent to $4 to $5 spent later in the pavement life. The intent of the maintenance program is to keep the condition of the pavement high with the least amount of expenditures. Timely maintenance can renew the pavement condition and prolong the life of the pavement. The benefit of the maintenance program is determining the optimum time to effectively apply funds. As seen in Figure 1, it is cheaper to apply limited funds to a pavement when the condition is relatively good rather than applying additional funds to improve the condition from a lower value.

Pavement Maintenance Program (PMP)

An effective pavement maintenance management program is one that details the procedures the Sponsor should follow for the purpose of assuring proper pavement maintenance, both preventative and repair. The program must address key elements that will permit tracking of pavement maintenance activities. As with all successful endeavors, the owner must be committed to providing sufficient resources if the maintenance program is to succeed.

An acceptable program must, as a minimum, address the following elements:

  1. Pavement Inventory
    The following must be depicted in an appropriate form and level of detail:
    • Location of all runways, taxiways, and aprons
    • Type of pavement
    • Dimensions
    • Year of construction or most recent major rehabilitation

    For compliance with the Airport Improvement Program assurances, identify pavements that have been constructed, reconstructed, or repaired with Federal financial assistance.
  2. Inspection Schedule
    1. Detailed Inspection. A detailed inspection must be performed at least once a year. If a history of recorded pavement deterioration is available such as by a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) survey (Advisory Circular 150/5380-6. Guidelines and Procedures for Maintenance of Airport Pavements), the frequency of inspections may be extended to 3 years.
    2. Drive-by Inspection. A drive-by inspection must be performed a minimum of once per month to detect unexpected changes in the pavement condition.
  3. Record Keeping
    Complete information on the findings of all detailed inspections and on the maintenance performed must be recorded and kept on file for a minimum of five years. The types of distress, their locations, and remedial action, scheduled or performed, must be documented. The minimum information to be recorded is listed below.
    1. Inspection date
    2. Location
    3. Distress types
    4. Maintenance scheduled or performed

    For drive-by inspections, record the date of inspection and any maintenance that was performed.
  4. Information Retrieval
    An airport sponsor may use any form of record keeping it deems appropriate, so long as the information and records produced by the pavement survey can be retrieved to provide a report to the FAA upon request.
  5. Reference
    Refer to Advisory Circular 150/5380-6, Guidelines and Procedures for Maintenance of Airport Pavements for specific information for maintaining airport pavements and establishing an effective maintenance program. This Advisory Circular also addresses specific types of distress, their probable causes, inspection guidelines, and recommended methods of repair.

Guidance for Developing a Pavement Maintenance Program

The FAA does not prescrib the exact format of the program. The Sponsor may establish the PMP electronically or by hardcopy. Each airport should customize the collected information to best fit the needs, conditions, and resources of the airport. The selected system should allow an airport to develop an initial program that can evolve over time.

The FAA Central Region has prepared guidance to assist airport operators in preparing a pavement maintenance program. This guidance is not intended to, nor does it provide a complete program that a Sponsor can immediately apply to their airports. Larger facilities will require a more extensive program to ensure proper tracking of the maintenance data.


Advisory Circulars

  • AC 150/5380-6 - Guidelines and Procedures for Maintenance of Airport Pavements


Suggested formats for date collection and reporting
  • Pavement Inventory Template: MS Word (29 KB), PDF (26 KB)
  • Pavement Inspection Template: MS Word (27 KB), PDF (29 KB)