How many miles of street does the District maintain?
Approximately 4,346 lane miles (lane miles – measurement is taken down the center of each lane and added together).
Does DDOT maintain all the streets inside the District Limits?
DDOT maintains most residential streets, collectors and some of the thoroughfares. The remaining interstates and thoroughfares are maintained by various Federal Agencies including National Park Service and the Architect of the Capital.
Street Maintenance and Resurfacing Process
Why do we mill (grind down, profile) some streets and not others?
The shape or profile of the road is intended to not only safely move cars, it also ensures water runs off properly, provides pedestrians a safe means of crossing and accommodates bicyclists. When layers of asphalt are continuously laid down, the profile of the road changes creating issues with proper drainage, trip hazards, improper elevations for wheelchair access and impediments to cyclists. DDOT staff has established criteria that are used to determine if successive layers of asphalt can be added with no impact or if the street should be milled to maintain the proper profile. Manhole and water valve adjustments will occur within three days after milling.
How long after the milling process does it take for a street to get paved?
DDOT tries to pave a milled street within 72 hours after being milled; however, there are times when this may need to be extended due to weather conditions, project coordination or some unforeseen circumstance.
How can I submit a paving request?
- 311 telephone call center
- Online service requests at 311.dc.gov
Paving related requests are sent to DDOT’s Asset Management Division.
How are paving requests handled?
Paving services requests are handled through DDOT’s web-based work order and service request management system.
After a paving request is received:
- The Pavement Management group assesses the location in question
- Office and field investigations are performed
- The results together with other relevant factors are analyzed
- Recommendations are made
After the roadway evaluation is completed and recommendations are made, the work will be planned and scheduled.
The work is categorized under one of the following:
- Poor condition / public safety
- Pavement preservation
Poor condition / public safety category
- Mainly addresses pavements rated as Failed or Very Poor
- Most expensive way to maintain network
- Few lane miles covered per year
Pavement preservation category
- Extends pavement life and addresses minor defects before they become major
- Extends the life on good sections of pavement
- A less costly alternative that provides for the best use of available funds
- The paving technique utilizes asphalt emulsions that create less pollution and are environmentally friendly
What does DDOT do about property owner’s parked cars on the street when you show up for resurfacing?
Signs are placed on the streets two weeks before the work begins. DDOT will also place flyers on the windshields of parked vehicles 72 hours prior to the start of the milling and resurfacing work. The flyers request that owners move their cars prior to resurfacing. If the car is not moved the day of milling and resurfacing and the owner cannot be contacted, a professional tow vehicle will move the car and place it back after the resurfacing is complete. This is at no cost to the vehicle owner.
How will I be notified if my street or the streets in my neighborhood will be resurfaced?
An alphabetical list of streets targeted for resurfacing can be found on the DDOT website at ddotfiles.com/workplan. You can also contact 311 for this information. If the street or streets in your neighborhood are scheduled to be resurfaced, DDOT will install a sign on the street(s) at least two weeks before the resurfacing process work begins. While the signs will be removed after the final asphalt surface is placed, please remember that the resurfacing preparation process can include many steps before the final lift of asphalt is placed. Sometimes the preparation process will not come with a notification. Depending on the street condition, the following functions can be incorporated into the resurfacing process: asphalt base patching, curb replacement, pavement milling, and asphalt surface treatment then finally resurfacing and pavement markings. Any number of these functions can occur on separate days or the same day. Traffic and property ingress and egress will be maintained at all times while work is being done unless otherwise notified.
Perceptions and Observations
Occasionally when riding on streets I see the manholes have been adjusted above the street surface anywhere from 1 to 1.5 inches. Why is this done?
The manhole adjustment takes place days before the resurfacing so the concrete that holds the manhole in place can cure before the street is resurfaced. Manholes are usually adjusted up to accommodate new depth of the resurfacing layer. When the new asphalt is applied the manholes become even with the pavement.
Sometimes I see streets being paved that are in much better condition than others that I ride over in the District. What is the reasoning behind this?
There are several situations that lead to this perception:
Many major thoroughfare streets within the District are maintained and funded by the Federal Highway Administration. Example: Interstates, Wisconsin Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Georgia Avenue, and 16th Street. Their heavier traffic loadings, resurfacing program and budget sometimes results in differences in resurfacing philosophy when compared to that of the District of Columbia.
DDOT will also delay resurfacing when there are immediate project conflicts in the area that will either directly or indirectly affect the quality of the new pavement being installed. DDOT staff works closely with Utilities and other agencies to limit these conflicts as they arise.
Finally, DDOT’s resurfacing program is based on a proactive maintenance program. The theory of a proactive maintenance program is “timely maintenance activities reduce the need for larger more expensive repairs in the future”. Through staff evaluation of the pavement and its underlying structure, we can determine which roads will benefit most from resurfacing activities and which streets can last an additional period of time before repairs are needed. While the appearance and ride quality of the roads are considerations, they are not always the best indicators of the remaining lifespan or condition of a street.
Sometimes I see DDOT crews digging up and patching on streets that appear to be in good condition leaving rough pavement patches. Why does the District do this?
Many people believe the maintenance and resurfacing of a street is limited to bringing in a paver and placing a new layer of asphalt on top of the old layer. However, if the existing pavement (foundation) is cracked, soft or broken, the new resurfacing layer will quickly deteriorate and fail. For the new resurfacing layer to last many years old deteriorated asphalt must be repaired to establish a good foundation. The removal of cracked or damaged asphalt (patching) before resurfacing is to provide a solid foundation for the new resurfacing layer. The patching of roads is accomplished using different equipment and techniques than what is used during resurfacing. These differences oftentimes create the rough and uneven ride quality that is often experienced after a patch has been completed. The patching process is also a much slower process compared to standard resurfacing and is performed months and sometimes years before the resurfacing process due to the additional time needed.
Does the DDOT coordinate with utility companies to get them to do their work prior to the street being resurfaced?
Once DDOT develops a tentative resurfacing list, it is sent out to all utility companies to review for project conflicts. Many street blocks are deleted from the tentative list and rescheduled for the next year’s list to avoid the conflict with other projects. With the District’s fast paced growth it is impossible for many utilities to know where and when a water leak may develop, whether or not a new building may need electrical wiring, telephone wiring, or sewer taps. Many conflicts are avoided through this review process.
Is it less expensive to pave all streets in a neighborhood one at a time instead of paving a few this year and a few next year?
All streets do not deteriorate at the same rate. One street may be subjected to more traffic or subjected to the elements more frequently (i.e. water and sun) resulting in different degrees of deterioration. With limited funding, DDOT’s practice of paving streets that are in need of repair reduces the long term expense of paving entire neighborhoods that may or may not need the repairs. DDOT’s objective is to resurface streets that meet these criteria and to also spread the limited funding throughout the District rather than targeting certain areas of the District. When feasible, DDOT will add the resurfacing of some capital and utility projects onto its resurfacing contract to take advantage of the lesser cost available on the resurfacing contract. Although this effort may delay the completion of some projects by days or months the cost savings can be significant.