Paving and Potholes
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.
Alexandria is divided into 11 zones; during the blitz, crews work diligently on multiple zones at a time to ensure each zone gets one pass. This is a moving operation and residents should expect periodic lane closures throughout the City. The spring pothole patrol only covers major street networks and does not include public alleys and parking spaces.
The 2023 spring pothole patrol begins on Monday, April 3, and is estimated to be completed by Friday, April 28.
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 thaw and contract. This freeze/thaw cycle can cause the pavement to crack causing rapid deterioration under the weight of traffic, resulting in potholes. Another factor contributing to potholes is often a large volume 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 harshest 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. Oftentimes, the road surface must be cut away, 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.
Alexandria has more than 561 lane miles of road and each year, the City resurfaces approximately 50 of those lane miles.
All residents affected by paving operations will receive a notice of paving 1 week in advance of mobilization. Hot-mix asphalt can be applied only in warm, dry weather. If there is inclement weather, work will be canceled for the day and will resume the following business day. Temporary "No Parking" signs will be posted on your block displaying the times and dates of restrictions. The street will then be milled (the top layer of the street will be removed), utilities adjusted, and then the street will be resurfaced with approximately two inches of hot-mix asphalt. All signs will be removed after the work is completed.
Vehicles parked on the street in work areas will be towed. Please note that the paving program coordinates with parking enforcement and tracks signs electronically. To avoid towing and any other additional fees, please adhere to the listed dates and times of signs posted in your community.
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 and idling also leads to air quality improvement and lower fuel consumption. Although there is a perception that night work zones are less safe than daytime work zones, evidence to substantiate this, 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. Nighttime operations often allow for higher productivity levels because of less interference from traffic and other work interruptions.
See below for the current paving schedule.
Current Capital Resurfacing Schedule
- Planned Paving List (July 1, 2023- June 30, 2024) Updated August 16, 2023
- Planned Paving Schedule (June 26 thru July 7, 2023)
The City of Alexandria maintains and manages more than 561 lane miles of streets annually. In addition to City Council-approved funding, the City participates in the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) State of Good Repair (SGR) and Revenue Sharing Programs and also leverages grant opportunities as they become available. When applying for grants, City staff uses an objective pavement management system to identify the condition of roads in the City, with the goal of paving the worst streets first.
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:
- A comprehensive database that contains current and historical information on pavement conditions, pavement structure, and traffic
- 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 EXAMPLES
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 transitioned to PAVER, a new pavement maintenance management system. PAVER, which is becoming the industry standard 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 November.
- Pavement Condition Interactive Map
- Pavement Management and Condition Evaluation Program
- Pavement Condition Inventory (PCI) Data
Sidewalk Maintenance & Repair
The goal of Public Works Services 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 than 12,000 square feet of sidewalk a year. PWS focuses on requests received online 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 the 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 take 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.
About the Street Maintenance Division
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.