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Concrete Rehabilitation: Slab Fracturing

If you’ve ever seen pavement before, you’ve seen damaged pavement. Even in the best weather in the world, pavement eventually develops ruts, pits, cracks, and more. As it gets worse, it can turn into potholes and uneven surfaces. Finally it crumbles and gives way. One of the bigger problems facing most cities regularly is maintaining its asphalt paving and concrete paving. There are plenty of things that can be done, such as seal coating, hot mix repair, cold mix repair, and full-depth repair. Finally, as a last measure, the pavement can be completely replaced.

One of the keys in repairing and maintaining asphalt is of course cost. Economics plays a big role in any element of construction, and asphalt paving is no different.

The present solution to asphalt repair and longevity

The current solution is asphalt overlaying. Nearly two-thirds of the Portland cement concrete (PCC) pavement in the US has been overlaid. It’s a cheap and relatively effective solution to handling asphalt damage. Portland cement concrete is the most common type of general use cement around the world. It is also the basic ingredient of concrete.

However, it has some persistent problems. The first is that cracks at joints appear in the overlay. The second problem is that cracks come through from beneath the overlay, and the overlay itself becomes cracked as well. That type of cracking is referred to as reflective cracking. This means that the solution in the end once the overlay is damaged is full-depth repair or replacement. The problems with those two forms of repair is that they are time consuming and costly.

That’s where slab-fracturing comes into play.

What is slab fracturing?

Slab fracturing is used on PCC before overlaying to increase its structural integrity. Essentially, it means that the damaged pieces of concrete that will be overlaid are further broken. This process may seem counter-intuitive, but it is effective. Damaging the underlying concrete slab helps reduce future damage to the overlay. Slab fracturing is also referred to as rehabilitating concrete.

It is based on the principle that damage to the slab below the overlay reduces stress. It does so by spreading out the load from weight across the whole surface of the concrete. This prevents extremely concentrated loads that can crack and damage individual parts of the paving.  The use of slab fracturing reduces crack at joints, and reduces reflective cracking in overlay. There are three main ways that it is used.

  • Crack and seat (C&S) for PCC without steel reinforcement. This is intended to reduce the slab length of PCC. It does so by producing tight surface cracks.
  • Break and seat (B&S) for PCC with steel reinforcement. This method requires greater effort to break the PCC slabs, rather than simply cracking them. Additionally, the added steel increases the surface strength. It does however, cost more due to the breaking process and the added materials.
  • This process is exactly what it sounds like. It involves breaking down the slabs beneath the overlay into 4-8-inch sized pieces. This method is cost effective, because the rubble remains in place after breaking. That means that there is no transport to or from the worksite.

What is the best method?

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The preferred methods are based on a combination of ease of performance and cost-effectiveness. A survey of stakeholders showed that crack and seat, and rubblization were the most popular. Most likely because they are the cheapest and still highly effective. Of course, some pavement receives extreme use by heavy machinery, construction vehicles, and loaders. This pavement will probably benefit from the steel reinforcement to ensure the overlay doesn’t  crack under the weight.

Is slab fracturing it effective?

Rubblized cement with a 5-inch overlay was highly effective. It inhibited reflective cracking and had little performance differences otherwise. Surface smoothness, rut depth, and other cracking was found to be the same as other surface restoration methods. The other methods it was compared to were minimum and maximum restoration, as well as overlays with sealed and sawed joints. Researchers also  discovered something else: it could be perpetual. That is, rubblized PCC could last indefinitely. It could do so under two conditions. The first was that the overlay was 8 inches or more. The second condition is that the foundation is strong enough. Of course, there would still need to be some maintenance done to seal coat and keep it protected.

It was also possible to prevent reflective cracking with the B&S and C&S methods. In the right conditions, reflective cracking would not happen at all. Even in the wrong conditions, their performance for reflective cracking was quite good.

Is your interest piqued? If you simply can’t get enough concrete slab rehabilitation, you are in luck. Here is the long form report from the NCAT. The NCAT is the National Center for Asphalt Technology.  You’re welcome.

What’s the verdict?

Concrete slab fracturing is a cheap and effective way to rehabilitate concrete. It’s better than replacement and cheaper than other forms of repair. Not only is it strong and low-cost, it’s also better for the environment, requiring less outside materials. In short: rehabilitate, don’t replace.

Does your concrete need some rehab?

If your concrete paving isn’t looking so good, get it fixed reliably. Reliable Paving is a professional, experienced, and dedicated construction contractor crew. With a team of over 200 and experience paving all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, no job is too big. Our services offered are many, including concrete maintenance, seal coating, repairs, replacement, striping, and laying asphalt. Don’t let your paving fall into disrepair any longer. Contact us today to get started on getting your pavement into tiptop shape.

Asphalt Manufacturing Trends To Watch In 2021 And Beyond

Trends in asphalt manufacturing and the asphalt paving industry.

2020 Has been a disruptive year, without doubt. There were numerous construction and building materials shortages that marked the early part of the year. On top of that, the general economic outlook was dismal. Businesses assumed that they would not do as well, and thus saved money rather than spending on new constructions.  The various industries that support businesses have taken hits correspondingly. But as things start to look up and we can see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, industry is reviving. Some of the trends we see in the economy as a whole will be reflected in the asphalt and paving industry. Some of the recovery trends, however, will be unique to asphalt and the industries that use it.

According to an IBIS World Report, asphalt manufacturing has been on a general upward trend since 2016. Although the industry shrank a bit in 2020, it is predicted to grow in 2021, by about 2.1%. As the industry – like many others – recovers from the pandemic, we can assess the specifics of how it is improving, and why.

Growing demand

The key to business is to find a gap in the market and fill it. With asphalt, that’s pretty straightforward. People and businesses need pavement, waterproofing, and repairs on their existing asphalt paving. Our job in this industry is to make those things happen.

A Freedonia study predicts that asphalt demand in the US will rise 3% over 2021, to 27.6 million tons. Demand for street/highway pavement will be the leading cause of this increase. However, asphalt used in other facets, such as roofing, will grow below the market average rate. Partly this is due to slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Partly this is due to the extreme weather repairs that caused a spike in demand for roofing and other waterproofing asphalt in 2016.

The economic stimulus measures enacted by the current political administration in the US will also increase demand. About 2 trillion dollars has been earmarked specifically for infrastructure stimulus, which will no doubt involve repairs and construction of new roads, bridges, and other asphalt constructions.

Asphalt industry trends to look out for

As the industry picks up again after last year, there are certain trends that began during the pandemic that are here to stay. There are also trends that have just started, but are fast becoming mainstays of this industry.

Big data and a well-connected workforce

As the older generations retire and new members join, technology is more and more embraced. This has resulted in better use of data, remote technology, and automation. On top of the general trend towards technological innovation, the pandemic has made it necessary for many people to work remotely. A good deal of jobs will stay remote permanently. In the paving industry, it’s a bit harder, as actual manpower is required to build roads. Technology is nonetheless playing a bigger than ever role in the industry.

  • Thermal imaging is the use of IR (infrared) sensors to monitor pavement temperature. It provides real-time temperature information and saves data for later analysis.
  • 3D Paving control systems use satellites and imaging technology. These automated grade control systems control the slope of paving with little error margin. They are key in getting large projects completed on time and on budget.
  • Intelligent compaction uses data analysis to improve long-term pavement performance. This technology automates the compaction process, efficiently performing while avoiding over-compaction.

Needless to say, the paving industry is becoming more connected, high-tech, and automated.

Localized production and the circular economy

With millions of paved roads already existing in the US, creating totally new asphalt is less and less of a necessity. Almost anywhere that asphalt needs to be repaired or laid in this country, it can be done with recycled materials. Damaged asphalt is being dug up, pulverized, and mixed with binder again to be laid as new asphalt. This has been happening for decades in the US, but it growing ever more efficient and better at reducing resources. The benefits of this process are many.

  • Reduced carbon footprint. When new asphalt doesn’t have to be made, the whole supply chain of making new aggregate and transporting it is no longer needed.
  • Recycling unused pavement. Old, unused roads and parking lots can become new ones. Rather than building new and destroying the old, old infrastructure can simply be reused.
  • Higher levels of customization. Individuals and businesses can get exactly what they want as the paving contractor they hire makes asphalt according to what already exists in their neighborhood with recycled asphalt.

Predictive maintenance

As technology and asphalt data analysis improve, impending failure is easier to predict. When an asphalt paving contractor can look at data from thousands of parking lots across the country, it becomes much easier to predict future problems and how to solve them in-advance. Predictive maintenance results in several major benefits.

  • Lower costs. Performing smaller repairs well before they are necessary obviates big repairs that have to fix failures.
  • Fewer failures. When maintenance and analysis anticipates a problem, that problem gets stopped before it has the chance to cause a major fault. With fewer failures comes less down time. You won’t have to worry about blocking off part of your parking lot if a problem that would have caused a failure has already been solved.
  • Supply chain optimization. With better analysis and maintenance, replacement parts and materialized can be ordered on a scheduled timeline, rather than when they are needed. This means that suppliers will know in advance when they should have things ready for contractors to install. Wait times decrease and efficiency goes up.

Stay on top of your asphalt needs

If you have noticed your pavement degrading, whether its cracks, potholes, or worse, it’s time to get it repaired. While the nation moves into economic recovery mode, you are probably going to want people at your business, spending their stimulus checks. Well, they can’t do that if they can’t use your driveway or parking lot. Reliable Paving can perform any pavement-related service you need, on budget, and on time. Contact us today to get started.

When Does Asphalt Need Repair?

Eight signs that your asphalt needs to be repaired.

No business owner looks forward to maintenance. It’s pricey, it gets in the way of the operations of the business, and having a construction crew working on your business isn’t an inviting look for clients. But there are still some telltale signs that your asphalt will need work done. Knowing when to repair is just as important as knowing how to do it. The following symptoms should let you know when to have a paving contractor work on your pavement.

Cracks that grow

Large cracks are an obvious sign that your asphalt paving needs work done, and small cracks can often be ignored. However, small cracks that are quickly growing into large ones are a sign that you need to fix the problem ASAP. If you notice that your pavement has cracks measuring over a quarter of an inch, or are quickly growing, then it’s time to call a paving contractor.

Fading color

Sunlight and frequent vehicle use can discolor your asphalt. If you notice that the paint is wearing off, and the black sheen of your parking lot has become a dull gray, it’s time to get it treated. Color wear is a sign that the pavement is aging, and aging pavement is more susceptible to further damage. As pavement ages, it becomes more porous, letting in water than will expand and contract over time. This results in much bigger problems that you should nip in the bud.

Moisture accumulation

If you notice that water or other liquid builds up on your asphalt doesn’t go away, then it’s time to have it looked at. As we have mentioned before, water is the main source of damage to asphalt. If you notice a lot of water building up on your driveway, parking lot, or other asphalt paving, then it’s time to get a professional. Lack of proper drainage will only lead to bigger problems later on, so you will want to get any drainage issues fixed quickly and effectively.

Crumbling edges

Crumbling edges are another telltale sign of impending asphalt failure. Once the edges start to break away, water gets another pathway into your asphalt. When water gets in, the structural damage starts. Another reason for broken asphalt edges is frequent vehicle use. This is a problem that will only grow worse with time, so if you notice it, it’s best to deal with as soon as possible.

Spider web cracks

Not all cracks simply grow in size. Some fan out from a common point. They start small spread forming a shape like a spider web, these are also known as alligator cracks and need to be dealt with immediately.

Warping

When your asphalt begins to change its surface shape, it means you have bigger problems deep below. Warping, buckling, and deformation are signs of too much vehicle use without maintenance, or water damage. As vehicles put a huge amount of pressure on asphalt, they can expose foundational flaws that need care. Water is another culprit of asphalt deformation. Water accumulation beneath the surface isn’t immediately visible, but as it expands due to temperature changes, it can cause the bumps and lumps to appear in your paving.

Asphalt stains

Paving is typically used by vehicles. And vehicles often leak. Vehicles can leak a variety of solvent liquids onto asphalt, from brake fluid to oil to antifreeze. These liquids are more effective than water and wearing away the surface and making the paving more susceptible to further water damage. They also wear away painting and striping much faster than water. Stains are also simply unsightly and uninviting. Your parking lot is the first thing people usually see when they enter your business, so you want to start with a good impression. Ensure your parking lot is clean, free of stains, and well-painted.

Sinking

Pavement often uses a compacted base of aggregate/crushed stone. If you notice a portion of your parking lot has become lower than the rest, it probably means that this foundation is beginning to give way. This can become a big problem as it’s hard to know what exactly will happen with the rest of your asphalt. Will it continue to sink? Will it eventually break? Will the whole asphalt area also sink and give way? It’s hard to tell from only one sunken area, so definitely get a professional to assess the problem.

What if repairs aren’t enough?

It may be the case that you need to start over from scratch. If you see some signs listed in this article, then it’s too late, and you should skip the repairs and go right to replacement. A good rule of thumb is that if there are multiple signs of failure, completely replacing the asphalt is a good way to go.

If you have any of these problems call a professional

If you have noticed that your business’s driveway or parking lot has any of the problems we have mentioned above, don’t hesitate to let us know. Reliable Paving is an experienced and professional paving contractor who can help you with whatever your asphalt needs are. Our services for the problems listed above include the following:

  • Seal coating. Covering your asphalt with a protective layer to prevent future water damage and damage from the elements is a great way to extend its life.
  • Asphalt repairs of various types. Our repair services include crack sealing, pothole repair, and resurfacing. We also do full asphalt replacement, removing damaged asphalt and replacing it starting with the foundation.
  • Parking lot striping. Repainting your parking lot makes it safer, look better, and is a great time to inspect it for other signs of damage.
  • Pothole repair. We also specialize in various methods of pothole repair. We do everything from quick throw and go repair to full-depth hole replacement to fix larger structural issues. 

Maybe you could use our repair services, or maybe it’s time to simply take out what you already have and start over with new asphalt altogether. Whatever the solution is, Reliable Paving has got you covered.

red volkswagen beetle parked at road side near pedestrian

The Factors Affecting Traffic Noise

How more than pavement surface affects the noise from traffic, and what can be done about it.

We already know that certain types of pavement can decrease traffic noise. But how exactly does it work? What are the effects on the people and environment when traffic makes a huge amount of noise in an area?

One of the most common forms of noise pollution in the US is highway and traffic noise on pavement. There are many costly ways to mitigate it, such as sound barriers. Using a different grade of pavement can also help. Rather than the types of pavement that can help reduce noise, we are going to analyze how the “grind” or texture of the pavement can reduce it, and what the benefits are, especially on highways.

Why is pavement noise important?

Pollution comes into our lives in many ways these days. There is air pollution in every big city. It is especially common in industrial areas where factories belch out smoke, whether in cities or not. Water pollution is another factor in most people’s lives. Anyone who lives in an agricultural area in the US is familiar with the copious amounts of water pollution that wind up in riverways thanks to industrial farming systems. Nowadays, microplastics are also to be found everywhere. Plastic doesn’t break down like other molecules. Instead, it becomes tinier and tiner, until it is microscopic, from which it can get into food, water supplies, and more.

However, one of the most common and annoying forms of pollution that people have to deal with is noise. Noise pollution is a surprisingly big deal. While it may not seem like a serious issue, its serious effects are many. On top of that, little is done about noise pollution, as highways are getting bigger and roadways are continuing to get built everywhere.

What is the effect of pavement noise on people?

According to an Acousticstoday.org study, more than 45 million Americans live within 300 feet of a major transportation facility. These facilities also include large highways that contribute to noise. In addition to interference with daily activities such as speech, the noise has been shown to have adverse health effects.

Health effects

Health effects of overly loud pavement noise include the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Cognitive impairment in children

The World Health Organization concluded that at least 1 million healthy life years are lost in Western Europe each year due to the effects of pavement noise on the population there.

This is only the effect on people, not also the effect on wildlife and the nearby environment.

What effects pavement noise?

Besides the obvious creation of it from tires on the asphalt paving, there are several other important factors.

Vehicles

  • Vehicle type. Four-seat cars are the most common, but of course large shipping trucks and other vehicles alsoe contribute to highway noise pollution.
  • Vehicle volume. The sheer amount of vehicles on the road makes a huge difference.
  • Highways are louder because the faster one goes, the more noise a vehicle makes.
  • Pavement type. The grind/course of the pavement makes a big difference as well.

Sound propogation

  • Site geometry. Echoes of nearby buildings, walls, and more can worsen or dampen pavement noise.
  • Ever wondered what those walls by the side of the highway are for? They are to decrease the noise to nearby communities.
  • Ground effects. The landscape can increase or decrease car noise on the asphalt.
  • Again, differences in the air and weather can also improve or worsen pavement noise.

Receivers of sound

  • Human reception. If a highway is going through a desert, there aren’t people to hear it nearby, so pavement noise is much less of a problem.
  • Wildlife and the environment. This noise can seriously disrupt the nearby ecology.

Read this long form study on pavement noise, to learn more about what affects asphalt paving/vehicle noise.

 

Tire contact with pavement is the biggest contributor to pavement noise

No, it’s not the sound of horns honking on car engines, but the sound of tires making contact with pavement that is the biggest factor in creating road noise on highways. Roads are paved in different ways, on low-speed streets, it matters less because the cars and pavement simply aren’t as moving as fast in relation to one another. What about highways though?

There are 3 types of common surface textures for pavement

According to a technical study from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the following pavement courses (textures) are the most common:

Transverse tine

This is created by dragging a metal rake sideways across pavement. It was discontinued in the 1980s due to the noise levels.

Burlap drag

Used for lower speed streets and roads. This is made by dragging a moistened burlap sack over the pavement surface. This is less important because it is not used on highways.

Diamond grind

Diamond coated saw blades are used to saw off small irregularities in the pavement surface. They also create grooves in the surface for traction. This method was originally developed to improve car handling on aging pavement, but it was discovered to significantly decrease noise levels as well.

Ultimately, it was discovered that the innovative diamond grind was far more effective at not only rejeuvenating old roadways for better car handling, but also for reducing highway noise.

So what have we learned?

We’ve learned that pavement can make a big impact on the noise coming from traffic. Not only that, but the environment and buildings in the area do as well. If you want to decrease your pavement noise, or figure out what you can do to make your place of business or home less bothered by a nearby roadway, let us know.

Reliable Paving is an experienced and professional group of paving contractors who are thrilled to help you in your paving needs. Do you need repairs, restriping, or new pavement? Maybe you just want to learn how to decrease noise and make your place of work more peaceful? Either way, we are ready to help you, we have the experience, team size, and skills to make your asphalt-related goals a reality.

Asphalt Maintenance Tips for Spring

How to ensure your pavement enters the spring and summer months in the best condition.

As winter finally lets its icy grip off of the nation (in most parts any way, some places are still having snowstorms), it’s time to check on your pavement. Winter in general is a colder, wetter time of the year, and that wreaks havoc on asphalt and paving. Water gets in cracks, feezes and expands, as we have noted before. Additionally, winter storms leave all kinds of debris on your parking lot and driveway that are a danger to motorists and pedestrians. Finally, now that the asphalt paving is clear, it’s as good a time as any to do some basic inspection work. Let’s look at the ways that you can make absolutely sure that your pavement is healthy going into the year.

Look, then leap

First of all, perform an inspection. The first thing you should do before major parking lot maintenance is an inspection. This will help you figure out what areas really need repairs and improvement, and where you are doing well. The best way to do this is to hire a professional paving service to take a look at your lot. They will notice things like small cracks that may not seem like a big deal, but that can lead to massive problems down the line. A professional paving contractor will also be able to advise you on the best course of action for how to repair your small problems so they don’t become serious hazards, and how to perform large maintenance projects/repairs if you need it.

Spring-cleaning

Winter usually leaves pavement covered in all kinds of debris. If you live somewhere with winter snow and ice, you may think it’s all over when it melts. Well, the water may not be on the surface anymore, but what about your drainage systems? Are they full? Is debris like tree branches blocking your paving from fully draining? Additionally, if there was snow and ice on your lot, it may have been salted to prevent too much frozen water accumulation. Well, the water melts in the spring, but the salt remains, and it needs to get cleaned up. A deep cleanse will also rid the lot of overgrown plants, garbage left by people, dried leaves, and gravel. Getting rid of the foreign bodies from your paving makes the lot look beter and makes it safer for those who will use it.

A good cleaning job will not only make your lot safer, and lessen future damage, but it will also make your business look more inviting.

Seal coating

Now that your pavement is clear of debris, and you can really see what it’s like, it’s time to get it protected for future inclement weather. Spring and summer storms are definitely a thing, so you want to make sure that your pavement is ready for all the water that will hit its surface. If you live in the West or South, where the sun is intense, seal coating is also a big benefit because it helps prevent damage by UV rays. UV rays may not do much over short periods, but over time, and in big quantities, they will damage just about any surface they fall on.

Seal coating is a big benefit because it makes your parking lot and/or driveway look better and extends the life. Whether you do it in the spring, summer, or fall, seal coating is somehting you should do regularly to ensure you get the most out of your pavement.

Repair potholes and cracks

Once everything has been inspected and cleaned, it’s time for repairs. There are a few different damage repair methods that you can use, from hot or cold fillling to deep repair. This is where having a professional paving contractor will really help you. You will be able to ascertain from the type of damage exactly what you need done- will a simple seal or filling get the job done? Or will you need a full on replacement of the damaged part of your parking lot?

During this time, be prepared for good and bad news. Sometimes, a repair can be done easily, with cheaper recycled asphalt. Sometimes, you will find new, worse problems, such as tree roots growing into the pavement or serious damage that necessitates deep repairs. Either way, a professional will be able to help you decide on the best methods and most cost-effective solutions to repair the damage to your paving.

Repaint

When the asphalt is repaired, inspected, seal coated, and looking almost back to normal again, it’s time to paint. Asphalt painting, such as directional arrows and parking lot lines also get worn away during the harsh winter months. You don’t have to simply repaint, you can also change the lines if you have noticed bottlenecks or unsafe places in your lot. After the winter lets up is the time to make the painted changes you wish to see in your parking lot.

Restriping your parking lot makes it safer for drivers, makes in better follow regulations, makes your business look better.

Have your asphalt paving maintenance done by certified professionals

You want your asphalt to work and look the best, so get it treated by the best. At Reliable Paving, we are highly experienced and professional paving contractors. Our services include striping (painting), seal coating, asphalt repair, and of course, inspection. We value your time as much as you do, so we will do our best to provide unrelentingly good service as we treat your pavement. If you think it’s the time to make changes, we can also do speed bump installation and ADA compliance to absolutely ensure your parking lot/driveway is as safe as it can be. Let us know today how we can help you, and we can get your spring pavement cleaning on the road.

lady getting testing for symptoms of COVID-19

The Effects of COVID19 on Transport Infrastructure and Maintenance

As we round the corner and life starts to get back to normal, it’s important to stop and take a look at how COVID19 has changed things.

The year 2020 has seen an enormous amount of changes. From numerous plans being dashed to other unforeseen alterations due to social distancing, remote work, and safety, 2020 did not go as planned for just about anyone. The initial reaction of the US to COVID 19 was not particularly serious, with people mostly ignoring it until cases started to spike. Afterwards, local governments acted with lockdowns and businesses started implementing rules of all kinds. New rules and regulations saw everything from hiking trails in LA being shut down to only small amounts of people being allowed to congregate in places of business. Schools are still remote in many places, and restaurants do take out only…if they survived the initial pandemic panic. Needless to say, our businesses and the way they are constructed will show some marked differences from pre-pandemic life for a while.

What are these differences exactly? Which ones will stick around for a while as life gets back to normal? How will this affect you and/or your business? In broad strokes, we can expect the following:

  • Businesses constructed for less contact. More online activity, better spacing and separation of individuals for in-person activities.
  • Resiliency in business construction. Things will be built so that another pandemic, or a resurgence/mutation of COVID19 doesn’t disrupt things the way it did in the first part of 2020.

Of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the US, we will focus on transportation.

Wide open roads

With a huge drop in commuters thanks to remote work, 2020-2021 has seen the roads get a lot less busy. Essential workers, servers, construction workers, and others found that they often had the roads (almost) to themselves as they made their way to and from work. This has resulted in some new innovation.

Driverless cars and cars with high-functioning autopilot (like various Tesla Models) have seen a big upswing. With less people on the road, it’s safer and easier to try out this new technology. Additionally, having a robotic car is much safer for deliver, transporting people, and more than a human driver who could get sick/spread the virus.

Public transit

With the new requirement of social distancing, efficient public transport that relied on putting a lot of people in the same buses and metro cars has had to change up the game. Over 73% of public agencies responding to a Trapeze industry survey reported making moderate to significant changes. Many changes have been small, like offering free masks or hand sanitizer on buses. Some however, are industry-altering.

Less people on vehicles

Buses and metro cars often have half of their seats blocked, so that people can’t sit as close to one another. This is a huge change as it means they can pull in less revenue total – 50% maximum of what their potential was before. How this will effect public transport in the future remains to be seen. Especially since when most people have been vaccinated and COVID is no longer the dominating feature of going out, they will most likely open back up fully.

Cleaning procedures and cleaning frequency

Once something that was rarely considered, these are becoming a much bigger issue. Public transport and public areas like sidewalks, parks, trails, and more are finding that they have to work harder and faster to keep areas clean. Sanitizing surfaces, picking up debris, and making sure that standing water drains are now big issues. This sort of work can create jobs for more transit workers, as well as increase commute times and inconvenience many citizens.

Tracking

Nobody wants the government or corporations spying on them…unfortunately, that’s exactly one thing that has increased with COVID19’s spread. The government tracks people using phone apps, cameras, and more to follow disease spread vectors. Meanwhile, big tech has had an easy time of tracking people, as a population that can’t leave home buys and does more online. Tech companies probably won’t let up any time soon, but the government will end the tracking protocols once the pandemic is over…right? It’s hard to say certainly, but a generally good guess is that the government won’t give up power once it has it.

Expect more infrastructure with cameras, checks, and ways to keep track of the populace, where we go, and what we do moving into the future.

The construction and paving boom

We should expect construction and paving and asphalt to make a huge comeback this year. As restrictions are lifted and the economy opens up more, shovels will meet soil, and bridges still need to get built.

After a year that’s seen a lot of extreme winter weather, from heavy snowfall in the Midwest and East Coast, to severe cold in Texas, there is a lot of work to be done. Paving contractors will be out in force this spring and summer, working on roads damaged by the bad winter weather. Businesses will inject more money into the asphalt paving industry as they start up again on projects that were put off in 2020.

If you need paving work done, the sooner the better

As the economy swings up and contractors become more and more in-demand, it’s a prudent choice to schedule your work sooner rather than later. Fortunately, Reliable Paving is ready for you. Our team of over 200 and 35 years of experience means we are ready to hit the ground running on the great economic rebound of 2021. Don’t put off fixing your parking lot or driveway any longer. Get it done now so you can reap the business that will come your way when things finally start getting back to normal. Let us know today what we can help you with, and you can get started on your 2021 recovery as soon as possible.

Pavement Advice for the Freezing Cold

How to handle unusually cold weather when you are on the pavement, and what to do about your asphalt when the weather subsides.

Texas has had some wild weather these last few weeks. The Lone Star State is known for its sprawling deserts and plains, as well as extreme heat waves blowing in out of Mexico and the Pacific. This winter though, things have been a bit different. Much of the state is seeing, or has seen record cold, as in record-breaking cold. Some places were colder than they have been in 30 years, while others broke records from more than a century ago. Check out this BayNews9 article for a full list of broken temperature records. Needless to say, it has caught a lot of people off-guard. Windchill dipped places like Houston and San Antonio into 11F and 9F respectively. Other places dropped into negative double digits thanks to the wind chill.

The energy grid in Texas has seen a large failure, with a dip of 46,000 megawatts (that’s 46 gigawatts) of production. This left people and businesses unable to act in the freezing weather. Everything from deliveries being delayed to frozen pipes bursting to rolling blackouts hit during this time.

We can’t help with everything happening in Texas, but we can help you keep safe on the roads, and help you figure out what to do after.

Staying safe on frozen asphalt

Asphalt paving is famously slick in the winter time in cold climates. Ice clings to it and snow gets impacted into it, leaving it slippery and dangerous for pedestrians and commuters. Fortunately, it’s not all bad, as people living in the midwest deal with it yearly, more or less without serious problems. A few pieces of simple advice will go a long way.

Go slower

This probably is a no-brainer for you but it’s still worth a mention.

  • Go even slower when on a slope. Your breaks will not work as well driving downhill on an icy hill.
  • Increase your follow distance to 3 times what is normally is. We’ve all seen videos of big pile ups on the roadways in blizzards. Increasing your follow distance is how that sort of thing can be prevented.
  • Go especially slow when there are pedestrians around. Not only do you need to be more careful, but they can slip on the ice too.

It’s not all bad though, thanks to the weight of a car, you are less likely to slip in one going at low speeds than you are on foot.

What to do if you start skidding

  • Don’t keep your foot on the brake, try pumping it, or easing off.
  • Get your steering wheel going in the direction of the skid, so you are ready to move when you regain control.
  • Going slowly in the first place helps prevent skidding.
  • When you do brake, brake gently, this helps decrease your momentum in a way that won’t lead to sliding.

Keep your lights, windshield, roof, and windows clean

  • Other people need to see your lights.
  • Hopefully, we don’t have to explain why you need to keep your front and back windshields clear.
    • Make sure that you clear them both off fully! A small 10×10 inch window in the front is not enough.
  • Keep your windows clear for the same reason as your windshield.
  • Clear off your rooof so that if you stop suddenly or if heavy wind occurs you won’t have roof snow falling and blocking your windshield.

Keep a shovel, matts, and/or 2 by 4s in your car

  • This is for digging out of deep/slippery snow. Matts or 2 by 4s under the tires will help you get some traction.
  • The shovel will be useful for digging out yourself and others. It doesn’t have to be a big one, a hand shovel will work just fine.

Stay at least 200 feet behind snow plows

  • Give snow plows and sanding/salting trucks their distance. Not only might they stop suddenly, but the amound of snow they kick up could be a hazard to you.
  • Do not pass them unless they are pulled over and stopped.

Be extra careful on bridges, overpasses, and ramps

  • These areas often freeze first, and will have ice before other parts of the road will.
  • These areas are often curvy and on inclines, making slipping more disastrous. Exercise caution.

Watch out for black ice

Many people have heard of this phenomenom, not many know what it is though. It is the product of snow/ice initially freezing in place, then unfreezing over the cycle of a day, and refreezing at night. This happens again and again throughout the winter. On the road, it becomes a mix of oil from cars and pavement and refrozen ice.

  • It’s harder to see and often much more slippery than normal snow and ice.
  • It can be lurking under new snow, making the surface even more dangerous.

Keep some emergency precautions in your car

In case you get stranded, keep a blanket, heater, some food, and water in your car so you don’t freeze while waiting for help.

What to look for when the weather subsides

When the freezing weather turns to spring, your pavement will be in dire straights. You will be dealing with wear and tear the likes of which you haven’t seen in Texas in a long time.

Expect the following:

  • Existing problems/faults will be worse. Cracks and potholes will be bigger and deeper thanks to water getting inside and expanding when it froze.
  • Asphalt paving will become uneven as that subsurface water expands in the cold.
  • Parking lot marking wearing off. You can expect the salt, sand, and winter weather to have an effect on paint too. Parking lines, handicapped signs, and pretty much everything painted on asphalt will be harder to see.

If you need your asphalt repaired, come to us! Reliable Paving is an experienced team of paving contractors ready to help you and your business recover from this winter. Contact us today to let us know how we can help you get your pavement ready for spring weather.

 

Asphalt and Carbon Sequestration

Greenhouse gasses and carbon dioxide

If you are a little bit familiar with the greenhouse effect, you probably know how it works and what the main culprit is. In case you don’t, here’s a quick breakdown: heat gets trapped in the atmosphere according to the level of greenhouse gas currently present. More greenhouse gasses equals more heat trapped. The heat builds up and the climate gets hotter over all.

Carbon comes from natural and human causes. All decaying material, especially plant matter, releases carbon. That is the biggest factor in adding carbon to the atmosphere. Usually it is added as CO2, or carbon dioxide. Now carbon dioxide itself isn’t so bad, and is a natural part of the Earth’s environment. Humans, and nearly every other animal breathes in oxygen, and breathes out CO2. However, it is currently being overproduced, and this is one of the main factors worsening climate change.

Slash and burn deforestation creates enormous quantities of decaying biomatter that in turn makes vast amounts of carbon dioxide. Industry also belches out carbon dioxide on…well, and industrial scale. Cargo shipping alone accounts for about 3% of the whole world’s CO2 emissions. Factories do their damage by releasing tons (literally) of CO2, and other worse gasses, like methane. Finally, agriculture also releases vast amounts of greenhouse gasses. Carbon dioxide isn’t even the worst one, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases are much worse. However, carbon is our focus because it accounts for over 81% of greenhouse emissions.

So what does this have to do with asphalt?

Asphalt plays a big role in carbon sequestration. What is that? It means removing carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it somewhere where it won’t get back out. This in turn reduces carbon’s greenhouse effect, and reduces the effects of climate change. There are two ways to do this right now.

  • Biologic carbon sequestration. This is the storage of atmospheric carbon in vegetation, both land-based and aquatic. The carbon is stored in roots, tree trunks, and the bodies of plants. This is useful, as much vegetation also breathes C02 and helps filter air in general.
  • Geologic carbon sequestration. This is the process of storing C02 in underground geological formations. The carbon dioxide is pressurized until in liquid form, then stored in rock formations. It fits well into porous formations, and can even be used for oil and gas extraction.

This is where asphalt comes into the picture.

Asphalt and the environment

We’ve already mentioned how asphalt is actually not nearly as harmful to the environment as one might think, and how it’s improving its footprint over time. Asphalt is primarily something called aggregate. Aggregate is what it sounds like- a collection of small stones, crushed rock, and little, hard things. It is all kept together by a glue. This glue, or binder, is an oil product. Now, the oil industry is famously bad for the environment. Extraction is awful for local ecologies, and accidents can result in crude oil covering huge swathes of the ocean and land. Fortunately, asphalt is mostly recycled, seriously reducing the need for new oil products. This in turn decreases carbon emissions from extraction. Future carbon is also not but into the atmosphere by the extracted oil later being burned.

But how does asphalt sequester carbon?

The first and main way, is by covering a surface. A surface covered in asphalt has that asphalt trapped inside of it. One thing people may not know about plants is that during the night, their roots absorb oxygen and they expel carbon dioxide. This means that the soil can become loaded with that carbon gas, which gets released into the atmosphere. With asphalt covering the surface of the soil, that gas stays underground. It may seem a bit extreme, but the more of the Earth’s surface we cover in asphalt paving, the more carbon we keep out of the air.

So we should pave as much of the Earth over as possible right? Well…it would have some pretty bad effects in the short run. In the long run though, a 100% paved planet would have a very stable, predictable climate.

Fortunately, asphalt has a few other tricks up its sleeve.

Asphalt-porous carbon

New developments in paving technology have led to more porous types of asphalt. This asphalt works just like underground porous rocks that hold carbon. This new material can capture carbon and store over 100% of its weight in carbon. When it is applied to high pressures, of 30 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level, it absorbs CO2. What this means is that it can be used underground at “wellheads.” Wellheads are places where carbon is released in large tubes, often from factories and other big polluters. When the material is released from the pressure, it releases the carbon. This enables it to be “pumped” so that the CO2 can be liquidized and brought to permanent storage. This cheap and easy-to-use material was discovered by Rice University, and you can read all about the specifics here.

The possibilities are endless. Parking lots and roads could be paved with asphalt-porous carbon. It then absorbs underground emissions, preventing thousands of tons of CO2 from entering the air we breathe.

Find out what else asphalt and pavement can do

At Reliable Paving, we believe in more than just doing the best job we can for you. We want to do our work, efficiently, cleanly, and in a way that benefits as many as possible. We make sure to stay on top of the best, most resource-efficient ways to pave and lay asphalt. We are paving contractors with a purpose – unrelenting good service, and a mission to be greener, more efficient, and the best we can be. Contact us today to learn about our environmentally-friendly paving methods, and what we can do for you.

Present and Future Developments in Asphalt Paving Materials

The US asphalt market has been on a steady incline and seems poised to be improving into the future. With a 3% annual improvement and nearly 28 million tons being used in 2021, with about 22 million tons for paving projects, asphalt’s future looks bright. Federal highway funding improvements and general construction market expansion are the main fuel for this. But what about the next decades? Sure, there will be more asphalt in use and in construction, but what materials will actually be used?

According to the trends and the market, we can expect some important changes to the asphalt market over the next several years. Most of the trends are in the direction of sustainability and the environment. Additionally, efficiency and quality material are some other big trends of the future. Let’s take a deep look into what and how the asphalt paving market will change in the coming years.

More recycling

Asphalt paving is already one of the top recycled products in use. This trend is definitely here to stay, and poised to increase. It’s already easy and often simpler to use recycled asphalt than to bring in new asphalt for a paving project, and the recycling process will only get more efficient as technology improves. What are some other materials that will make it into the asphalt recycling process?

Recycled plastic waste

Recycled plastic is finding its way into paving. Single use plastics like water bottles, bags, are pressurized into pellets that can then be used as part of the aggregate that forms the vast majority of the body of asphalt. Aggregate is the collection of small stones and crushed rocks that typically makes up 90% or more of asphalt. It is kept together by a petroleum-based binder, a sort of glue. This poses numerous benefits, as well as a few cautionary drawbacks.

Benefits of using plastic waste include:

  • Less plastic in landfills, rivers, and the ocean.
  • Cheaper than using traditional aggregate.
  • Recycling on-location saves time, money, and emissions by obviating the need to transport pavement.
  • It’s as durable or more than traditional pavement.

What about the cons of using recycled plastic waste?

The main con is that it poses the risk of introducing microplastics to the local environment. As the recycled plastic pavement degrades and is exposed to differing temperatures, the small pellets will break down and fall apart. This process sheds microplastics, which can damage local soil and water quality. As the plastic moves through the ecology, it winds up in farmed food, animals, and people.

Fortunately, by controlling the extreme heat exposed to the recycled material, the companies who use recycled plastic road can prevent the release of microplastics.

Self healing pavement

This porous material uses inductive heating to “heal” damage that it accrues through usage. The asphalt repairs its own cracks when it is heated meaning that a lot of maintenance and care is no longer needed. The mixture uses some steel wool in the bitumen that holds the aggregate together. This reduces cracks, potholes, and graveling (loose aggregate breaking free from the surface).

The green and sustainable movement

There are quite a few ways that asphalt is going green, which we will talk more about later. But the main way for any industry to become more sustainable is to simply use less. Remember the three Rs? Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The first one is to reduce, and that is the best way to benefit the environment, and save costs.

Buying an electric car might save in the long run on greenhouse emissions, but it’s nothing compared to not using a car at all. The same goes for industry, especially the paving industry.

Warm mix asphalt

As of now, most asphalt is either hot mix, or cold mix. Hot mix means that the asphalt must be mixed at high temperatures (surprise), and cold mix means it doesn’t have to be heated. But new technologies are allowing for warm mix asphalt. It uses a water and a chemical additive to create a mix that can be placed on roadways at lower temperatures.

Warm mix asphalt is similar to hot mix, but is uses temperatures between 212 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. These temps require less energy and result in fewer emissions. Basically, warm mix asphalt is a way to pave like hot mix, but reducing the amount of energy and waste throughout the whole process.

Solar and geothermal paving

A lot of the roadways in the US see intense sunlight, especially in the high desert regions of the Southwest. Solar panels can be incorporated into the roadways in order to generate passive electricity from miles and miles of empty highway.

Geothermal technology can be added to the bottom layer of the paving in many places — including those without constant sunlight, to generate passive electricity as well.

Ultra smooth roads

Less gravelly, smoother roads are a benefit as well. The smooth roadways produce much less noise pollution and have less friction. This results in higher fuel-efficiency for the vehicles on them.

Efficiency, sustainability, and improvement

The road to improvement is paved by progress. The above mentioned technologies are already in-use in various places across the world, and they will no doubt see continued and expanded demand.

Here are some other technologies still in the works, but not used yet.

  • Bio-bitumen (binder) made from household waste, paper, textiles, and other organic material.
  • Bio-asphalt made from plant cells (lignin) as the bitumen. Lignin is a by-product of the paper industry, so this technology doubly reduces waste from one industry and reduces demand from paving.

Whatever new tech come our way, Reliable Paving will be on top of it. We are a team of paving contractors who keep on top of the newest trends, most efficient methods, and the best ways to render service to our customers. We aim to provide the best paving services available, while minimizing environmental impact and striving for utmost efficiency. Message us today to find out about our methods, and how we can sustainably work on your paving project.

Paving a Road From Start to Finish

5 Steps

Many people think that asphalt paving is a simple process: pour it and let it harden. It’s actually not nearly that simple, but it doesn’t need to be overly complex either.

Whatever needs paving, there will be the same basic steps in each paving project. Maybe you are a commercial developer working on a new lot, or a city street nearby needs paving, whatever the circumstances, we can give you a detailed outline of how the project should look. This can serve you in several ways: you can make sure your paving contractor is doing the job right, you can also communicate more effectively by asking the right questions through each part of the process. Finally, if it’s a small project, you might get the knowledge you need to do one or more of the steps without any outside help.

Planning

This is an often overlooked step. You, the business owner or developer, will need to ensure you have the following:

  • Approval for the city for paving the area you choose.
  • Environmental issues with the area need to be addressed, such as drainage.
  • The location needs to be clearly defined. If it is a busy thoroughfare, there will need to be some kind of alternate route for people to get around it. Even if it isn’t a place that sees a lot of traffic, there will need to be alternate routes around the location for pedestrians and commuters.
  • The goal of the project should be clearly defined. What are you paving? What is its function? Is it a road, driveway, or parking lot? Is the space being paved for vehicles, pedestrians, cars, cyclists, or heavy machinery? Who is using it, the public or some private individuals? How much use will it see? This is a difficult thing to figure, as many variables need to be considered. Ultimately, you need to know how much use it will get, what kind of use it will be, and who will be using the new paved area.
  • What is the timeline of the project? How long will it take from breaking ground until it can be used?
  • What is the budget?

Preparation and Excavation

The difficulty of this step varies significantly according to what was there before. Was the site location another road? It may be easier to prepare. Was the site an old building that needs to be torn down? Well, there will be a lot more work. You should also check what is under the site to make sure the new paving can handle the load from use.

During this process, grading and sloping of the site is also incredibly important. This determines drainage. Water is the main factor in asphalt/concrete damage, so ensuring that your site will have proper drainage will save a lot of repairs, money, and headaches later on.

Finally, the ground to be built upon will have to be compacted. This is a technical process that usually involves special equipment and skill. It’s something you will almost certainly need a professional paving contractor to perform.

Building the sub base

Now that the ground beneath is ready, it’s time to lay a sub base. This is the material upon which the actual pavement will lie. It can vary from compacted soil and loose rocks in home/residential construction to much more complex layers of increasingly-small aggregate. Aggregate is a combination of small rocks, crushed rocks, and stones that. In many roads, the sub base layers has 4 layers.

  • Bottom layer: compacted soil, also called sub grade.
  • Layer 2: Sub base aggregate material. This can be loose rocks or stones compacted tightly.
  • Layer 3: Base course. Usually a finer aggregate material than the sub base, like sand.
  • Layer 4: Paver base. This final base before the pavement usually is the finest aggregate. Rock is finely crushed into a powder that the pavement can lay smoothly upon.

Laying the asphalt

During this process, paving contractors will use heavy equipment to pour hot mix asphalt onto the top layer of the sub base. Asphalt, unlike the other layers, is not just an aggregate material. It also includes a binder, which is usually made from petroleum. The petroleum binder makes up a tiny portion of the asphalt, usually around 5%. As you may have guessed from the name, the binder is essentially the “glue” that holds the asphalt together as one contiguous piece.

After pouring, the asphalt will be leveled and compacted after pouring. Additionally, joiners will be built to connect the asphalt to other pavement. Roads connect to other roads, driveways, sidewalks, etc. Special attention should be paid to ensure transitions are smooth.

Finally, asphalt will be checked for final smoothness. The contractor will make sure there aren’t bumps or small build-ups, and a roller truck or some other piece of heavy equipment will fully flatten the new paving.

Despite its use of petrochemicals, asphalt does not actually have a terribly powerful environmental impact. It is one of the most recycled materials, and it sequesters vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

Hardening

Once the asphalt is poured in the right location, all you have to do is wait. It may be safe to walk on once it has cooled and hardened initially, in the first few days after pouring. Complete hardening may take weeks or up to a month, depending on the ambient temperature.

When this part of the process is done, the asphalt is good to go.

Pave your projects the right way

At Reliable Paving, we know what we are good at. We ensure total care and proper procedure during every stage of the paving process. Not only do we take care to do our best work, but we communicate proactively and are present to answer questions, and provide recommendations throughout each step of paving. If you want a project done well, to exacting standards, and reliably, then don’t hesitate to contact us today and get the best paving you can.