8 Technological Advances in Paving

Existing technologies that have and are radically changing the world of asphalt paving

Paving, like many construction-related industries, is awash in new developments. Many of the developments are future-oriented. They are often in-development, or newly contrived, or only exist on paper. What about the existing technologies that have made paving better, more cost-effective, and more efficient? As demands for paved roadways has gone up, paving contractors have innovated to meet those demands.

It’s all in the mix

In past years, asphalt was mined as small rocks out of the Earth. These small rocks make up the majority of asphalt pavement, and they are called aggregate. Aggregate is a mix of pebbles, rocks, and other small particles held together by a binder. The binder is usually a petroleum product that essentially glues everything together, making pavement one solid piece.

Previously, it was all made from new materials. This process is not the most efficient. It had to be collected, processed, and transported to where the new pavement would be laid. New advances in paving mix had made the whole process far more efficient.

Recycling

Before, simple vanilla pavement was used. Nowadays, the vast majority of pavement used on roads is recycled material. This solves several problems in one go. First, old roads don’t have to be discarded and go to waste. Second of all, the collection and re-pulverization of the pavement can be done closer to where the new pavement will be laid, saving transportation time and cost. Finally, it is much more environmentally friendly to recycle than to create new materials all the time.

Improved durability asphalt mix

Asphalt mix used to be a one-size fits all solution. Now, thanks to in-depth studies about pavement use, wear, and environmental factors, asphalt mix is specialized. Mixes are designed to withstand heavy equipment use, use by numerous vehicles, and environmental changes. Mixes such as Superpave provide excellent all-around performance in various situations. You can read more about Superpave and its benefits as well as how it’s made here.

Warm mix asphalt

Also known as WMA, warm mix asphalt has become one of the most popular types of mix. WMA lets the asphalt achieve viscosity at lower temperatures. This allows mixing and compaction without extremely high temperatures. It may seem minor, but it comes with a whole list of benefits. WMA improvements include:

  • Reduction in energy use.
  • Reduction in smoke created and exposed to workers, people nearby, and the environment.
  • Lower fuel usage.
  • The ability to pave in cooler weather.
  • Ability to perform deep patches for repairs.
  • The mix can be hauled longer and still retain its ability to be used.

Engineering improvements

Engineering is such an open term, it could refer to just about anything. The mix mentioned above is engineered right? Well, in this sense, we mean environmental and precision engineering improvements. 

Soil engineering

Nano-engineered materials have enabled soil to be more stable and provide better dust control. Geocells are a type of structure created by welding polyethylene which are filled with aggregate. These cells are a great way of confining soil and bearing loads. The bottom-most layer of a paved surface is called subgrade. Subgrade used to be made simply from compacted soil. It is one of the biggest problems when it comes to asphalt repairs. Damaged earth beneath the asphalt is nearly impossible to fix without tearing up the entire pavement. With geocells and better engineered subgrades, the ground beneath the asphalt can last longer. New additives are also used with are environmentally-friendly (biodegradable), safe, and quick to apply. They can be used as asphalt subgrade and in areas with unpaved roads to control dust.

Precision engineering

The materials used in paving vary in size greatly. The tiniest aggregates are measured in micrometers while huge support beams and pillars can be meters in length. The current industry trend is to use nanotechnology, microscopy, molecular dynamics, and atomic force to figure out how these interact. The goal is to find out how these materials interact on an atomic and molecular level so that they form stronger bonds and last longer.

Self-healing asphalts

One of the benefits of precision engineering in asphalt is the advent of self-healing pavement. This is an asphalt which uses micropolymers that form bonds withing the cracks that develop in paving. Small fibers will release sealants that then fill the cracks, re-bonding the broken asphalt.

Modern construction methods

New and high tech construction methods are making asphalt-laying more efficient, last longer, and better over all. 

Thermal imaging and mapping

This technology is the use of GPS and infrared to map out the temperatures of where asphalt is being laid. This helps them improve future asphalt laying by addressing bad temperature areas. In the future, they can figure out how to handle paving better and do so more efficiently. It also helps the paving contractors lay better asphalt as it is happening.

Intelligent compaction

Intelligent compaction is the use of vibrating rollers with a sensor system, feedback control, GPS, and a computer reporting system. Intelligent compaction technologies improve asphalt compaction in real time, and they help provide data for better analysis in the future. These devices are also capable of measuring the existing compaction on ground where asphalt will be laid. They can also measure compaction of asphalt to be repaired. It’s a major improvement. One of the biggest problems in the past was knowing the compaction levels of the places asphalt was to be set. This again provides real-time improvements in the process of laying and repairing asphalt for contractors.

Get the best paving you can

Reliable Paving has been in this business for over 35 years. We know the newest and most efficient ways to get roads, parking lots, and highways paved, and the tried and true methods. If you need asphalt laid, repaired, assessed for ADA compliance, seal coated, or repainted, we’ve certainly got you covered. Contact us today to get a free quote and find out what we can do for you.

Paving Scams To Look Out For: The Driveway Paving Scam

Follow our advice to avoid this common driveway paving scam.

Like many, you’ve probably received at least one cold call about some kind of construction scam. Cold calls for driveway paving, roofing, and more are common, and we can tell you how to avoid them. These scams work in a particular way: they offer to do a service, then claim they can not complete the service unless they get more materials, for which they need more money. Of course, they have already agreed on a set timeline or price. The consumer gets scammed when they have to fork over more money to complete a project whose price was already agreed upon.

The specifics of the driveway paving scam

This scam typically begins when a contractor shows up at your door or calls your phone. They claim that they have been doing work in your area and noticed that your driveway is in need of some TLC. Usually, the scammer agrees to give you a discount, because they are already doing work in the area and can use leftover materials to work on your driveway.

Here’s an example of what the pitch you might hear from a door-to-door scammer or cold caller will sound like.

Scammers take an initial payment and disappear

If you agree to their work, they will ask for a percentage of their fee up front. This can often be the end of the story, with the scammer disappearing afterwards, and you getting burned by the prepayment. Clients will notice that contact number or email address doesn’t work, and that the contractor will be cagey with details such as where their main office is located.

Low-quality work is the result

In other instances, the work does actually get done, but is sloppy and unprofessional. However, this usually isn’t noticed until the full payment is made and the work is regarded as “complete.”

More money than agreed upon is required to finish the job

In another variation, the scam needs more money to be completed. With the work partially finished, the contractor argues that they need more materials to complete you driveway project. Of course, in order to get more materials, they need more money, and that has to come from you. If the project does get completed, you wind up paying more out of pocket, and not receiving a discount at all. Companies that use this tactic are of course highly unprofessional and their work will reflect as much.

How to avoid these common paving scams

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid these scams. We have some methods you can follow in order to do so. Remember to always be vigilant, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Get quotes from multiple sources

If you notice that some of your paving is in dire need of repair, contact a few paving contractors in your area. Find out who some legitimate companies in your area are, send them pictures or have a contractor visit your location. They should be able to give you a quote (often for free), about how much your asphalt paving repairs should cost. This quote should include the whole price, from the start of the contract to its completion. They should also be able to tell you what each step of the repair process will be. By comparing the prices of different contractors, you should get an idea of how much your repairs will actually cost. This will help you figure out if that cold call about your driveway is a scam. If all the pavers you contact in your area tell you the costs for repairs should be 2-3 thousand dollars, then the one offering to do so for 1 thousand or less is probably not a legitimate offer.

Due diligence is a must

When you are going to hire a company for anything, find out what you can about the company.

You will want the following:

  • Contact phone numbers — and make sure they work.
  • An email address that works and responds promptly when you reach out.
  • A website. Look for a website with contact info, including phone numbers and a physical address of the company. Also, it’s best if the website is over 2 years old, as anyone can create a website instantaneously.
  • A physical office location. This way, you know where to take legal action to, if it comes to that.
  • The names of the owners/contractors who will be working on your project.

Get everything in writing

A verbal agreement means little, especially legally. Make sure that everything you have agreed to with the company is in writing. Essentially, you are trying to create a paper trail in the case that legal action is a necessity.

Pay through legitimate means

Any company only taking cash payments is a big red flag. Paying with a credit card is often the best, as the credit card company will be able to refund the money if the company does not hold up its end of the bargain. 

Never pay full-price up front

If a company argues that you need to pay for everything up front, it’s another red flag. A company should be able to provide its own materials and supplies, it’s not your job to buy them. It is your job to pay once work is done. Many companies will require a percentage to be paid before work starts, but not the whole price.

Hire a professional

If you need paving work done in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, then go with a company whose track record is reliable. Reliable Paving has been serving the area for decades, and can help you get your work done on time, and at a reasonable cost. Our services range from repairs to asphalt replacement, so we should definitely be able to find a solution that works for your asphalt paving. Contact us today, so we can get your projects started – and finished – sooner.

How Climate Change Affects Asphalt

As the Earth’s climate continually changes, asphalt pavement reflects these changes. How does it change and what can we do about it?

Like it or not, the Earth’s climate is changing. This is hardly something new. Our planet has gone from a geologically super-active inhospitable rock covered in magma and poison gas to the birthplace of life. A few hundred million years ago, the oxygen levels in the air were so high that various species of scorpions could grow to be 2 feet (0.61 m) long. Climate and geological changes have led to massive extinction events, with some eliminating 96% of the planet’s species.

The relatively good weather of the last few thousand years is actually pretty out of character for this planet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s here to stay. Severe weather events continue to multiply, landmasses (like the Indian Continental Plate) are subsumed by the Ocean, and our atmosphere’s composition is changing.

This change affects much of our lives, from growing food to the buildings we live in. Here at Reliable Paving, we like to stay on top of how the changes in the world reflect on what we do. So how does climate change affect asphalt paving? What can we do about it?

What does a changing weather/climate have to do with asphalt anyway?

As you probably know by now, weather changes make a big impact on pavement. UV damage runs its course, and it changes according to how much sun hits the asphalt. But the main culprit of weather damage is water. Water gets in porous asphalt and then changes size when the temperature changes. As the water expands and contracts, asphalt does too. Cracks form, the aggregate loosens, and existing problems will get worse. What’s more, is that liquid in the ground underneath the asphalt can cause frost heave, a big change in the asphalt’s surface level. Ok, so weather definitely effects asphalt. But what about climate change?

Climate change is minor over all, so why should it affect pavement?

From 1880 to 2020 the average land temperature has only gone up by about 1 degreeCelsius (3.8° F), and by 2100 it should be up by about 4 degrees Celsius (7.2° F). That’s not so bad right? Well….unfortunately, 75% of the heat increase since 1880 has happened since 1975. The process is only expected to continue to accelerate.

On top of the over-all heating speeding up, we have more extreme weather. Rather than being a graph that simply slowly plods up, climate change results in the weather being more extreme, both in cold and heat. There is an over all trend towards it being more hot, and the heat levels’ extremities worry us plenty. Extreme weather also is an enormous threat, because events such as floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and high-wind storms can destroy our paving/road infrastructure.

The threat from extreme weather

Extreme weather is climate change’s most immediate threat to most of us. It can destroy crops, homes, businesses, and entire cities (see: New Orleans, Louisiana, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa). Of course, severe weather can also destroy our paving infrastructure. So the question that arises is simple: What can we do about it? It’s neither cost-effective nor safe to have highways, roads, parking lots, and roofing (which also uses asphalt) that gets destroyed every few years.

Tougher asphalt

Changing our asphalt’s aggregate mix and binder is the key issue here. Upgrading the binder increases its durability and lifetime. Same goes for aggregate. However, thanks to the existing infrastructure we have, these changes are expensive. Fortunately, the savings come in as we will spend less on maintenance over the lifetimes of these upgraded asphalts.

Different maintenance methods

Although the maintenance for higher-quality asphalt paving is less expensive, it’s different from the usual. Rather than just checking the asphalt for damage, it’s important to look at the wider area around it. Is this area prone to flooding? Drought? Severe storms with high winds? Is there erosion close enough that will make it to the asphalt in the next decade?

For an in-depth look at dealing with climate change’s effects on asphalt, read this study from the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

The threat from global warming

Urban heat islands

As the planet gets hotter and hotter, asphalt doesn’t help. Especially hot areas in cities are created by black asphalt which absorbs the sun’s energy and traps it, further heating the air above and around it. This phenomenon is known as the Urban Heat Island Effect. Asphalt blacktop disproportionately contributes to it. The long and short of it is that asphalt absorbs heat and makes the surrounding areas much hotter.

Toxic gas

When exposed to extreme heat and sunlight, asphalt also releases air pollution. Asphalt is made with petroleum products. When it gets extremely hot and is exposed to sun, it begins to release gasses normally associated with oil products. These gasses go into the air and become part of what the people who live nearby breathe on a daily basis in the summer. Pollutants released include PM 2.5 (tiny particles that aerosolize and damage lungs) and mixtures of harmful organic compounds. According to Science Advances, asphalt is a major nontraditional source of secondary aerosols. As paved roads make up 20% of the built environment, and asphalt is 45% of roofing, this is a big issue to tackle.

Solutions include using different materials. Recycled plastic can be used in roads and roofing. Asphalt can also be coated white, or with a reflective surface, so it can reflect, rather than absorb sunlight and heat.

Reliable Paving can help you avoid creating an urban heat island

If you have a paving job that needs to get done, but you are concerned about the heat or pollution caused by it, then contact us. We can offer environmentally-friendly solutions to your paving needs. With experience totaling more than 35 years, and a well-trained team of over 200 paving contractors, we can handle any job. When you rely on us, you will learn the meaning of “relentless cooperation.” Get your work done well, get your work done reliably, with Reliable Paving.

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.