Street and Bridge Maintenance Branch

Dianne Lowey Binnie, P.E., Assistant DirectorDianne Lowery Binnie image

PWE logoThe Bridge Maintenance Section 

Responsible for inspection and maintenance of over 1360 city bridges as required by federal regulations. In addition, this section recommends replacement or reconstruction of bridges where traffic levels may have exceeded the original design or bridge condition may impact the section goal of keeping bridges in a safe operating condition for the public.

The Street Maintenance Section 

Handles several programs to keep about 16,000 lane miles of city streets in good and safe repair for drivers. The programs include pothole repair, skin patch repair, asphalt overlay, concrete panel replacement, street sweeping, mowing, and weed control.

Within the City of Houston a pothole is generally considered to be a road defect less than 25 square feet. These repairs are made with asphalt and are normally repaired with a one person pot hole patch truck. This one person truck makes the repair using a liquid asphalt emulsion and small stone aggregate. Usually a repair made by the one person truck is complete within 15 minutes after arrival at the location.

Skin patches are asphalt repairs that are larger than pot holes and smaller than a typical overlay project. A three person asphalt distributor crew or a seven person roller crew is required to make this type of repair. Typically these repairs are rectangular and completed in a few hours after arrival.

Asphalt overlay is the resurfacing of a street that uses two crews and normally takes several days per street. The City plans overlay projects by neighborhood (Overlay Map), not individual streets, for maximum efficiency; this also leaves the neighborhood with a uniform overall appearance. Overlay is not designed or intended to solve drainage problems or eliminate water ponding issues. Overlay extends the life of the roadway and addresses only the riding surface. The first crew is a milling crew that removes the old asphalt surface. Depending on the thickness of the existing asphalt the City will remove 2" to 6" of material during this process. Once the old asphalt is removed a second crew will move in with an asphalt paving machine and apply a new asphalt surface between 1 ½" to 2" thick. The City expects a minimum life of five years for an overlay project and some overlays can last 20 years.

Concrete panel repairs are an option used on concrete streets and involve completely removing a section of old concrete, then placing new concrete. This is the most expensive repair method and is used only where concrete material is absolutely necessary. Even small concrete repairs can take up to a week to complete. Asphalt can also be used to make a wide variety of repairs on concrete streets with excellent results. Asphalt repairs cost are significantly less than the cost of concrete repairs.

Street sweeping is performed in the downtown sector of Houston weekly and four times a year on major thoroughfares throughout the city.

Right-of-Way mowing is conducted once per year; locations and approximate mowing months are identified in the map legend. (Mowing Map) Off-Road Ditch mowing is conducted semi-annually; locations and approximate mowing months are listed (Off-Road Ditch Mowing schedule).

Visit our Street Surface Assessment Vehicle page to learn how street assessments are performed and view the current street assessment.

Remember to Call 3-1-1 Service Request for pavement questions or to report a pavement or pothole problem.

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