PTS annually administers parking for nearly 5,500 parking spaces, with parking lots making up approximately 44 acres of the campus footprint. Maintaining this critical university infrastructure for maximum safety and function for campus patrons is essential to fulfilling our mission of keeping U of I moving.
Our in-house maintenance program saves tens of thousands of dollars annually while providing necessary upkeep of infrastructure that prolongs the life of campus asphalt reducing the need for much larger and costlier repairs. These savings are passed directly to students, staff and faculty in the form of more affordable parking permit rates. In-house maintenance operations also provide increased efficiencies and quality of work with a knowledgeable team performing campus hardscape repairs including crack repair and seal-coating, parking lot striping and thermal plastic application for crosswalks, traffic and bike lanes.
Asphalt, like everything else, has a life span. Most parking lot asphalt will need replacing within 25 years. The first sign of wear is cracking. Our PTS maintenance staff knows their asphalt cracks! They spend 2 weeks each year filling and sealing 2-3 miles of cracks both within the lots and on the streets of campus. Their certified flaggers ensure traffic flows safely through the work zones. By sealing the cracks, PTS reduces damage from freeze-thaw conditions of the Palouse and extends the life of our infrastructure.
As minor potholes and other asphalt repairs are needed, our PTS team utilizes cold patch and other repair products to minimize the spread of the damage. In-house savings of asphalt repairs are $10,000-13,000 annually.
Our maintenance staff spend the hottest part of the summer freshening up parking lines and pavement markings in the lots. The trained staff utilize two professional Graco Line Stripers and apply water-based paint which has fewer environmental impacts than oil-based paint. Most lots and curbs are striped every other year, however the heavy traffic lots and drive lanes are painted yearly to provide traffic and parking guidance for our customers and keep our campus looking great. By doing this work ourselves, we save U of I about $5,000 every year.
Seal coating is a critical tool in our tool box of asphalt maintenance. We spray a heavy sealcoat emulsion on the asphalt surface to reduce weathering and oxidization while protecting the surface from corrosives such as oil and gas. This is best used on newer asphalt to prolong its useful life and prevent costly repairs later. This also improves the appearance of the lot and gives it a nice black finish before we stripe it. Most parking lots are on a 5-year sealcoat rotation with an annual in-house cost savings of $25,000-$35,000 per year.
Crosswalks, turn arrows, yellow curbs, center lines, bike lanes and the Vandal emblems on campus are the result of ongoing efforts of the PTS maintenance team. Thermal plastic material is used for these markings and unlike traditional paint marking can last for years when applied properly. A hard winter filled with snowplows and studded tires, for example, will quickly erode traditional painted crosswalks. Thermal plastic crosswalk markings are melted to the asphalt surface and remain visible year round.