Street Maintenance

Page updated on Aug 15, 2018 at 2:33 PM

Join the Pothole Patrol!

Each spring, the City's Street Maintenance crews work quickly and efficiently to repair potholes. While crews perform street repairs throughout the year, the spring pothole blitz addresses the increase in potholes that occurs during the winter months.

During the 2017 spring blitz, crews repaired more than 5,000 potholes throughout the City. The 2018 effort will begin in April. 

If you see a pothole, report it using Call.Click.Connect. or by calling 703.746.HELP (4357).


Street Maintenance & Repair

Street Maintenance graphic

Street Maintenance is responsible for repairing all roads, sidewalks, curbs and gutters, and pavement areas in the public right of way. Our major road maintenance and repair activities are pothole patching and major street resurfacing, which is a complete replacement of street asphalt, from curb to curb.

Every year, Street Maintenance crews, with help from select private contractors, are able to:

  • Patch approximately 5,000 potholes
  • Repave approximately 50 lane miles of road
  • Repair or replace more than 12,000 square feet of brick and concrete sidewalk

Additionally, the Street Maintenance section handles snow removal; guardrail, fence and barrier repairs; and some bike path and trail repairs. Placing and programming variable message boards for all City departments and supporting City construction activities also falls under our purview.

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What is a Pothole?

A pothole is a type of damage in the surface of the roadway where a portion of the road pavement has cracked and broken away, leaving a hole.

What Causes a Pothole?

Street pavement cracks and breaks because of water and traffic.  Water can get under the pavement through cracks or from the side of a road.  Over time, the water can cause the material under the pavement to erode, causing the pavement to sink and break.  During winter, the water under the pavement can freeze and expand, and then thaws and contracts. This freeze/thaw cycle can cause the pavement to crack causing rapid deterioration under the weight of traffic, resulting in potholes.  Another factor of the cause of potholes could be large volumes of traffic or heavy trucks and buses using a street not designed to support this load, this   can cause the pavement to crack and break apart.  

How Are Potholes Repaired?

During cold weather, permanent patching cannot occur.  Temporary patching is done using cold mix asphalt.  Cold mix is less expensive, easier to use and can be stockpiled.  This method can be performed in the most harsh of winter months and can be scheduled for permanent patching later in the year.  Permanent patching is used where a long lasting repair is required.  Often times, the road surface must be cut way, the road base replaced, and new hot mix asphalt installed.  The preferred months to perform permanent patching activities are from April to November due to hot mix asphalt temperature requirements and availability.    

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Street Resurfacing and Paving

Alexandria has more than 560 lane miles of road—each year, the Street Maintenance section resurfaces approximately 50 of those lane miles. Alexandria is one of only a handful of jurisdictions in Northern Virginia that is responsible for resurfacing its roads. In neighboring counties, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the state transportation entity, owns all roads and handles major paving. Because Alexandria is a city, it owns most of its roads is responsible for resurfacing them.     

Paved roads – especially those in urban areas that receive heavy truck traffic, such as Alexandria – should be resurfaced every 8-12 years to maintain a quality surface. However, the City has limited funds to spend on resurfacing City-owned roads. When funds aren't available, resurfacing projects fall into deferred maintenance, which means that work is postponed until a future budget cycle, or until funds are available. When maintenance is deferred, and streets are resurfaced less often, the work required increases, which increases the repair cost.

The Commonwealth of Virginia provides limited funding for roadway resurfacing based on a formula that is derived from the total lane miles of paved roadway within the city. This funding also provides for concrete curb and gutter work, asphalt patching and localized repair and engineering studies. The Commonwealth inspects City streets in conjunction with City inspectors and reviews the City's pavement management efforts.

The City of Alexandria, with financial assistance from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), manages its pavement by regularly assessing condition, analyzing budget needs, performing routine maintenance (such as pothole repair) and undertaking minor and major paving projects.

Paving FAQs

What can I expect while my road is being resurfaced?

  • You should received advance notification, either by project signs displayed in advance of the work, or fliers passed out on your door.
  • Hours of work will be between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., unless otherwise specified (see night work details below).
  • No Parking signs will be posted in advance of the work.  Please be sure to observe these signs to avoid tickets and potential vehicle relocation.
  • During paving hours, access to the street will be limited, however we have directed the contractor to allow for local traffic to pass through for driveway access.
  • Heavy equipment will be used which may be noisy during the process.
  • At the end of each work day, roads will be fully open to allow for overnight parking and traffic.
  • City staff will be on site managing the project.
  • At the end of the project the contractor will be directed to clean up any loose millings or asphalt from intersections, driveway aprons, and sidewalks.

My road is in bad condition. How often does the City resurface roads?

Paved roads – especially those with heavy truck traffic and in urban areas such as Alexandria – should be resurfaced every 8-12 years in order to maintain a good quality surface. Unfortunately, the City has very limited funds to spend on resurfacing City-owned roads. The Commonwealth of Virginia provides limited funding for roadway resurfacing based on a formula that is derived from the total lane miles of paved roadway within the city. Under current funding levels, roads are being resurfaced on a schedule closer to every 25 years. This situation will not change unless additional funding becomes available/ .

How many miles of road are resurfaced each year?

Because paved roads– especially those with heavy truck traffic and in urban areas such as Alexandria – should be resurfaced every 8-12 years in order to maintain a good quality surface, it is the City's goal to repave 71 City lane miles each year. 

How does the City decide which roads (lane miles) should be resurfaced first?

The City's pavement maintenance efforts are based on field condition evaluations of pavement conditions utilizing the City's Pavement Management System. Pavement management systems are sets of tools or methods that can assist decision-makers in finding cost-effective strategies for providing, evaluating and maintaining pavement in serviceable condition.

The pavement management system consists of two basic components:

  1. A comprehensive database which contains current and historical information on pavement conditions, pavement structure and traffic
  2. A set of tools that allows the City to determine existing and future pavement conditions, predict financial needs and identify and prioritize pavement preservation projects.

Based on field inspection data, objective pavement rating indices are calculated by the computer model. This establishes a baseline that allows the City to objectively evaluate the pavement condition of one roadway over another.

How is the program funded?

In fiscal year 2017 City Council increased the City's paving budget to $6,650,000, a 18.75% increase over FY 2016.    Additionally, the City participates in the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) State Revenue Sharing Program as well as leverages grant opportunities as they become available.    In July 2016, VDOT announced that the City will be awarded an additional $500,000 through the FY 2017 VDOT Primary Extensions Grant.

Each resurfaced lane mile may cost as much as $100,000 depending on the constantly fluctuating costs of petroleum, scope of necessary repairs and other considerations. The City receives reimbursement from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) through the Local Maintenance Program for a portion of this funding.

Why were nearby streets recently resurfaced but my road was not included?

The City conducted a comprehensive assessment of pavement conditions in 2013. Since then, the City has used the resulting data to better inform the paving program priorities and make optimal use of the available funds. Paving activity has since been focused on streets labeled "serious," "very poor," and "poor" and these streets are typically spread out across the City. The City focuses its limited maintenance funds on streets that are in most need. It is recommended that an updated assessment occur every 3-5 years to continue to optimize use of limited maintenance funds.

Why does the City conduct some paving operations at night?

Nighttime operations can significantly reduce or eliminate traffic congestion and delays associated with daytime operations. Elimination of traffic delays/idling leads to air quality improvements and lower fuel consumption. Although there is a perception that night work zones are less safe than daytime work zones, evidence to substantiate this perception, such as higher accident rates, is not available because of a lack of accurate traffic exposure data. There is also no difference in productivity levels between daytime and nighttime operations. In fact, nighttime operations often allows higher productivity levels because of less interference from traffic and longer working hours.

How do I find out when my street is scheduled for resurfacing?

The City's proposed street maintenance list is typically posted in April.

Additional Questions?

The Department of Transportation & Environmental Services will minimize inconvenience to residents on the block as much as possible. However, if you have questions or problems about the project, please call T&ES Operations at 703.746.4357 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays.


Pavement Management & Condition Evaluation Program: How the City Determines Which Streets Need Repaving

The City's pavement maintenance efforts are based on field condition evaluations of pavement conditions using the City's Pavement Management System. Pavement management systems are sets of tools or methods that can assist decision-makers in finding cost-effective strategies for evaluating and maintaining pavement to ensure that it is in serviceable condition. 

The pavement management system consists of two basic components:

  1. A comprehensive database that contains current and historical information on pavement conditions, pavement structure and traffic
  2. A set of tools that allows the City to determine existing and future pavement conditions, predict financial needs and identify and prioritize pavement preservation projects.

These tools allow the City to objectively evaluate pavement condition.

Every three years, the City conducts a comprehensive survey of pavement condition of every City-owned street. Each street receives an objective score ranging from 1 (worst) to 100 (best). These scores are used to create a Pavement Condition Index (PCI), which is used to rank street segments according to need and help create the maintenance schedule.

Pavement Condition Index Scores

Condition Rating Index Definition
Good 86-100 Stable, no cracking, no patching and no deformation. Very good riding qualities.
Satisfactory 71-85 Stable, minor cracking, generally hairline and hard to detect. Minor patching and possibly some minor deformation evident. Dry or light colored appearance. Good riding qualities. Rutting less than ½".
Fair 56-70 Generally stable, minor areas of structural weakness evident. Cracking is easier to detect, patches evident. Cracking is easier to detect, patched but not excessively. Deformation more pronounced and easily noticed. Ride qualities are good to acceptable.
Poor 41-55 Areas of instability, marked evidence of structural deficiency, large crack patterns (alligatoring) heavy and numerous patches, deformation very noticeable. Riding qualities range from acceptable to poor.
Very Poor/Serious 11-40 Pavement in extremely deteriorated condition. Numerous areas of instability. Majority of section showing structural deficiency. Ride quality is poor.
Failed 0-10 Pavement structure failed. All of section showing severe structural deficiency.



Pavement Condition Index Examples

PCI graphic 1000

The City evaluates the condition of Alexandria's streets and uses that and other information to establish priorities for street surface maintenance and rehabilitation. When selecting streets each year to be paved, staff considers:

  • pavement condition,
  • volume and type of traffic,
  • utility work planned for the street (we coordinate paving with underground utility work to minimize the opening of street pavement),
  • cost of the work, and
  • level of community interest

In FY 2019, the City of Alexandria will be transitioning to PAVER, a new pavement maintenance management system. PAVER, which is becoming the industry standards for municipalities across the country, will assist with budgeting, forecasting, pavement analysis, and other tasks that improve the City's responsiveness to major street resurfacing projects. 

The City's proposed street maintenance list is typically posted in April. The map shows streets currently scheduled for resurfacing in the City of Alexandria street maintenance program. Hot-mix asphalt is used to resurface the streets in an ongoing program to bring old, substandard streets up to modern standards. The program begins in early April and continues through the beginning of October. A parking notice letter will be mailed to affected residents about 2-4 weeks in advance of the operation.


About Paving Operations

The program starts on approximately April 1st and concludes on or near October 15th. A parking notice letter will be mailed to affected residents about 2-4 weeks in advance of the operation and flyers are posted on residents' homes the week of the job. 

Hot-mix asphalt can be applied only in warm, dry weather. Unavoidably, there will be one day of delay for each day of rain. Temporary "NO PARKING" signs will be posted on your block displaying restrictive times and dates. The street will then be milled (the top layer of the street will be removed), utilities adjusted, and the signs removed. 

Within a two week period the Temporary "NO PARKING" signs will again be posted displaying times and dates your street will be overlaid with approximately 2 inches of hot-mix asphalt. The signs will be removed after the work is completed. Vehicles parked on the street in work areas will be towed! 

In certain locations – typically higher volume roadways – the City may conduct nighttime paving operations. Nighttime operations can significantly reduce or eliminate traffic congestion and delays associated with daytime operations. Elimination of traffic delays/idling leads to air quality improvements and lower fuel consumption. Although there is a perception that night work zones are less safe than daytime work zones, evidence to substantiate this perception, such as higher accident rates, is not available because of a lack of accurate traffic exposure data. There is also no difference in productivity levels between daytime and nighttime operations. In fact, nighttime operations often allows higher productivity levels because of less interference from traffic and longer working hours.


Sidewalk Maintenance & Repair

brick and concrete repair

The goal of PWS is to make the City's 320 miles of brick and concrete sidewalks safe for pedestrians and help prevent injuries caused by defective sidewalks.  PWS replaces and repairs more then 12,000 square feet of sidewalk a year. PWS focuses on requests received through Call.Click.Connect. and internal field observations by staff.  

Sidewalk requests are inspected to determine the proper remedy or solution for repair.  Any temporary or emergency repairs are typically made safe within 1-2 business days.  Permanent resolution depends upon the findings of the investigation.  Many permanent repairs require a longer time frame and depend upon funding availability.  

Alexandria sidewalks can be made of several materials types, but crews typically deal with two distinct types: concrete sidewalks, which cover the majority of the city, and brick sidewalks, which can be found in Old Town and other neighborhoods. While concrete sidewalk crews have the hugely important job of keeping the majority of city walkways smooth and safe, brick crews perform detailed piece work that helps Alexandria retain its beautiful historic character. 

Additionally, the City uses private contractor Precision Safe Sidewalks to conduct some of its concrete sidewalk repair work. These sidewalk safety experts help City staff respond to repair requests quickly and efficiently.   

Capital Sidewalk Maintenance Programs


Street Patching, Small Paving, Alley & Asphalt Trail Maintenance

Alleyways and asphalt trails and bike paths are an important part of Alexandria's transportation network. Keeping them safe and in good repair improves quality of life in the City by doing everything from aiding trash and recycling pickup and helping cyclists travel safely around the city to allowing residents to enjoy City parks. 

Repair and paving projects related to alleys and trails typically takes place from early July until early fall. Staff makes every effort to provide timely, accurate information about this work and to minimize disruption and duration. 


Meet the Street Maintenance Team


Herbert Holmes
Superintendent, Street Maintenance
2900 Business Center Drive 
703.746.4357

Dwayne Parton
Assistant Superintendent, Street Maintenance
2900 Business Center Drive 
703.746.4357

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