Pavements

Pave It Right The First Time

Paving is one of those things most of us don’t think about too much. It’s underfoot, and most of it exists beneath the surfaces we are on anyway. Most people don’t know how deep roads are, or what the differences are between concrete and asphalt paving. Plenty of people don’t know that you need the right kind of paving for large semi trucks, tractors, and construction equipment. Meanwhile, paving around the patio or for a home driveway is a far easier process. At Reliable Paving, concrete and asphalt paving is our bread and butter. We’ve set up a handy guide for how to do your commercial paving right the first time. Follow our advice, and you won’t have to worry about serious damage and constant repairs for years to come.

Step 1: Removal of the existing surface

The first thing you will need to do is get the surface-to-be-paved ready.

If the surface is already paved, or has been built on before, it will require demolition. You will need heavy equipment if there is an existing structure or pavement. Front loaders, Bobcats, dump trucks, and even jackhammer are needed for destruction and removal of existing pavement. The same heavy equipment can also be used to remove that pavement once it is destroyed. Even if no construction exists, the land must be dug out to a certain depth to make room for the asphalt.

The good news is, the debris doesn’t have to go far. When it comes to asphalt, just about 100% can be recycled and used in the new pavement. This saves everyone time and money, as new materials don’t have to be purchased, or transported to the site.

Step 2: Surface preparation

The newly-exposed surface must be prepared for water drainage. The main damaging factor of asphalt is water. When water seeps into paving, it expands and contracts. This creates cracks/holes and expands existing spaces, as the water cools and heats up. Thus, we need the surface graded. This essentially means that the surface will have a slope to it, so water runs off and doesn’t pool. When you see a parking lot with vehicle fluid or water pooling on it, it has either not been graded properly, or the asphalt has been laid poorly on top of it.

Step 3: Subgrade

Also known as the sub-base, it is one of the most important parts of the asphalt installation. The sub-base determines how much load your asphalt can take. It will also be key in making sure your asphalt remains damage free. The subgrade must be compacted, so that it does not further compact while in use and cause structural damage. The compaction also helps prevent water from getting in it and causing problems like frost heave and expansion of the ground beneath the asphalt. Subgrade should be free from plants, especially roots.

Long story short, subgrade must be properly compacted, flat, and graded (sloped), if it is, it will greatly extend your asphalt’s life. Sub-base is the foundation of your asphalt. As you go up from beneath the ground, the sub base will go from coarser materials, like rocks and stones to more tightly-compacted, finer materials, like sand. The last level of subgrade before the asphalt layer itself should be a find crushed powder.

Step 4: Laying the asphalt itself

If you deal with any paving contractors who start the asphalt process here….then you are in trouble. The asphalt should only be laid once the area has been cleared, graded, and an appropriate foundation put in.

This process has a few steps:

  1. The asphalt/concrete debris that was cleared earlier is re-pulverized. On-site heavy equipment will crush the used asphalt down to it’s aggregate. Aggregate is made of the tiny rocks, stones, and particles that make up the vast majority of all asphalt.
  2. The aggregate will be mixed with a petroleum-based binder. This is what keeps it together and contiguous.
  3. The binder layer is put down often before the main aggregate is laid. This creates a strong, tough layer that provides much of the asphalt’s structural strength.
  4. Heavy machinery pavers are used to lay the asphalt on the prepared surface. These pieces of heavy equipment lay the asphalt in a wide, flat swathe.

Step 5: Connections and joints

The asphalt that is new will most likely connect to some existing asphalt. To do this, butt joints and transitional areas are added to smooth the change from one surface to another.

Step 6: Smooth it down

Once the asphalt is laid, it’s time to make it level. With everything (for the time being) put down, it’s time to roll it out. A steam roller, roller truck, or other heavy piece of equipment is usually driven over the newly-laid asphalt in order to smooth it. There should be no visible bumps, depressions, or large chunks of aggregate protruding when this process is done.

 

That should complete the first part, however, after a few months, you will want to take some steps to preserve your new asphalt construction. Inspect it for any signs of damage/cracking, and seal coat it, to prevent water permeation.

Get your paving done right, the first time

Reliable Paving has been in the business for over 35 years. We know the ins, outs, tried and true, and bold new ways to pave. As paving contractors, we take pride in our work, and you can rest well knowing that our asphalt paving will be the highest quality available. With the right maintenance, it will last you decades. Message us today, and we can start your paving project immediately.

Glowing Pavement And Striping

Maybe you remember glow in the dark silly putty. Perhaps, like the author of this article, you had glowing adhesive stars that you could put on the ceiling and walls of your childhood bedroom. For years, material that could glow in the dark was little more than a gimmick or a toy for children. However, some companies are making innovations that truly use glowing materials to the best of their capabilities. 

How does it work?

Before we start thinking about using glowing materials regularly we need to know how they work. Asphalt paving is a tried and true mix of aggregate and binder. It is tough, reliable, durable, recyclable, and inexpensive. this is what makes it one of the most used materials in the world. What about phosphorescent materials though? How can we be sure they are as reliable as asphalt and concrete?

All glowing items contain phosphors. Phosphors radiate visible light after being energized. In the case of glow-in-the dark paving and paints, the phosphors are energized from the light that hits them. Other items, such as glow sticks use a chemical reaction to energize the phosphors. The exact mix used in glowing materials like paving is a closely guarded industry secret however.

The phosphorescent materials used in paving are covered with water proof/durable clear materials. This extends their life and makes them suitable for use on roadways.

Read more about how glowing things work on How Stuff Works.com

What are the applications?

Fortunately the applications for glowing materials in construction and on roadways are many. Among them are glowing bike paths for cyclists and walkers/hikers, glowing road markings, and glowing paint on vehicles. Each application provides various benefits, in the realm of energy saving and safety. However, there are a few rather unusual drawbacks that glowing materials can be associated with.

Glowing road markings

A promising development in phosphorescence is for painting road markings. But why use glowing roads and road marking when we already have streetlights? That’s a fair questions. Here’s why it provides benefits:

  • Glowing road markings will emit light even in power outages. This benefits places prone to disaster as well as blackouts/brownouts. It’s also a big boon for developing countries that don’t have advanced power grids which can light the streets. 
  • Glowing road marking can help save money. Less money spent generating power for streetlights, especially on seldom-used roads is money saved. 
  • Glowing roadways and markings can reduce emissions. Not only is less money used on glowing roads, but less energy is used as well. With less need for energy to be used on the road, it can be used in more meaningful ways. If less fossil fuels are used for road lighting, less carbon dioxide emissions are produced, reducing the greenhouse effect.
  • In 2021, every road-ready vehicle comes with headlights. These provide more than enough light to work safely in conjunction with glowing road markings. 
  • These phosphorescent paints are incredibly adhesive and tough. They aren’t removed by snowplows and the abrasive course of nature. Snow plows and ice are some of the biggest causes for damage in and on paved roads.
  • Phosphorescent paints on roads work in a gigantic variety of climates. It can survive in temperatures up to 357 degrees Fahrenheit, and down to -103 degrees. This means that any country on Earth can use it. Locales in extreme climates need not fret about what materials to use for their roads.
  • The glowing paints last a long, long time. The products will keep glowing for over 25 years. That’s about as long as you can expect asphalt paving to last without every care possible taken for maintenance.
  • Luminescent roadways are efficient. After being exposed to sun for the day, they glow for 10-12 hours. The first few hours will be the brightest, but nonetheless, the glow will continue for up to a dozen hours.

The first highway with glowing road markings is already in use in the Netherlands. N329 in Oss is a pilot concept for the Smart Highway project. The glowing lights increase visibility and safety, while obviating frequent streetlights along the stretch of road. The project was built by Heijmans firm, particularly their Studio Roosegaarde, which works on urban innovations. 

There is one unfortunate, and slightly less safe side effect though. Many drivers find the roadway so pretty at night that they turn off their own lights to better appreciate it. 

The Utah Department of Transporation is experimenting with glow-in the dark paint as well.

Glowing bicycle pathways

Another of Studio Roosegaarde’s projects is the glowing bike pathway. This innovative design provides a safe, clear pathway for cyclists and pedestrians. Like the glowing road markings, it obviates the need for frequent lights along the path, reducing the energy and money cost. It also provides a beautiful and entertaining night time path. Some of the benefits of using glowing cycling and hiking paths are:

  • Helping lost walkers find their way.
  • Different paths could use different colors, easing navigation at night.
  • Bike and headlights are common and easy. Using them in combination with a glowing pathway keeps things safe and easy to see.

Pave your way to a brighter future

If your paving project is having trouble getting off the ground, then let us know. At Reliable Paving, we strive to complete our paving projects efficiently, cost effectively, and while completely satisfying our clients. We are paving contractors who have built up a business over the last 35 years that is based on integrity, sustainability, quality, and of course, reliability. If you have a project that needs done, or just one in mind, don’t hesitate to message us and find out how we do your project to the most exacting standards. 

Fuel efficiency of a smooth road — smooth paving saves you money

How smoother paving results in using less fuel.

There are plenty of ways that paving can be greener. Recycled materials, green and efficient paving, and more result in a lower carbon footprint, lower costs, and less resources used. However, another advantage to green paving is that it also saves fuel. The long and short of it is that cars that drive on smoother surfaces use less fuel. What material is used in asphalt paving, such as the aggregate and binder makes a difference. So does how it is placed. This results in savings on fuel and lower atmospheric emissions.

Not only does the material and its construction affect fuel efficiency, so does maintenance. As our infrastructure, and how we study it improve, we are figuring out new ways to make things more sustainable. Nowadays the entire life of a road are factored into its financial costs, carbon costs, and more.

Why is it important? In the US, we spend roughly 190 billion dollars on highway, bridge, and street construction. On top of the money spent on building, how do almost all of our products get transported? At least one portion of their transport will be on a long-haul semi truck. These massive 12 and 18 wheelers burn through fuel, and smoother roads make enable them use far, far less.

The basic principle

The basic rule is that smoother pavement offers better fuel efficiency. This is a common-sense idea. Smoother asphalt paving equals less friction. Vehicles can thus put in less work in order to drive or crawl along a surface.

Automakers are constantly making vehicles more fuel efficient. These days, electric cars are beginning to dominate in some markets as well. But state and national agencies are also looking for ways to use less fuel in transportation. One of the best ways to do this is to use smoother roads. With over 2.5 million miles of paved roads, even a tiny change in each vehicle’s fuel economy can make a noticeable difference.

There are many benefits to smooth pavement

Smoother roadways are also better in-general. They are more comfortable, have less driver irritation, and are better for cars. Smooth roads result is less wear and tear on tires and shock systems, and are less likely to damage the undersides of vehicles. Anyone who has ever learned how to rollerblade or ride a bike knows how useful smooth roads are. Also, coffee drinkers who drive know the value of a smooth pavement. Finally, smooth roadways are easier to maintain. The smoother and slicker a pavement’s surface, the less upkeep it needs. Rutted and cracked pavements are easily permeated by water. Once water gets into asphalt, it’s game over. Water expands and contracts, causing further cracking and irregularity. Smooth surfaces are much more protected from water entry.

All of this adds up to a few important factors:

  • Less maintenance is required for smoother roads. 25% Smoother roads result in 10% longer pavement life
  • Cars can move more easily on smooth roads. Rolling resistance is the loss of a vehicle’s energy due to contact between pavement and the tire. The loss is usually small, only about 15-20%, compared to other forces like wind resistance. Tire baldness and the level of tire inflation only make about a 1% difference in rolling resistance. The vast majority of this benefit comes from smoothing pavement. Pavement smoothness effects this resistance by 5% or better.
  • Vehicles receive less damage on less bumpy pavements.
  • Smoother roads are more predictable for drivers. This means less chance of a vehicle going out of control and crashing.

These factors result in lower resource consumption over all. Less fuel means cost savings and less environmental impact. Less maintenance means the same thing. It also means that less pavement will be required over all to fix broken elements of pavement and damage. Finally, less upkeep will be required on cars that drive on smooth roads. Think about the difference in wear and tear on your car driving on gravel versus a well-paved highway.

If you are curious, or want more stats, here is a good long-form study. This study was made by the Missouri Department of Transportation. It’s about the relations between fuel efficiency and pavement smoothness. It shows that trucks on smoother surfaces got more mileage per gallon of gas (about .14 miles per gallon on average). SUVs got about .17 more miles per gallon. These may seem like relatively small savings. But considering how many millions of vehicles drive on the roads every year, they add up to enormous fuel and money savings in the long run.

How to get smoother pavement?

In short: use asphalt. Concrete makes good pavement, but it is not nearly as smooth as asphalt. Where concrete paving surfaces join, there are often bumps and seams. These decrease fuel efficiency. The bottom line is that asphalt pavements are easier to lay smoothly, and to keep smooth. Compound that with the facts that they also require less maintenance, and you have a recipe for success. Smooth asphalt paving results in less money spent on upkeep, car damages, and fuel.

Make sure your paving is efficient as possible

If you want to ensure your roadways are safe, efficient, and look great, then find the best paving contractor. Not only can a good contractor repair your asphalt, they can also lay the best quality (and smoothest) new asphalt. That’s what Reliable Paving lives for. We’ve been serving Texas for over 35 years, doing the best paving work available. Our services include asphalt paving, asphalt and concrete repair, seal coating, lot striping and ADA compliance. If you want your paving done right, done efficiently, and looking into a future of low costs and fuel use, contact us today.

Trails And Walkways: Paving Projects That Improve Lives

Not all asphalt has to go into roads and parking lots.

The vast majority of asphalt paving in the country goes into roads and parking lots. Well, 94% of the roads in the US are made from asphalt, so the number is must be pretty high. About 85% of all asphalt produced is used as a binder in road asphalt concrete. That’s a lot. The rest of the vast majority (10%) is used in roofing – the sealing and weatherproofing in many roofs comes from asphalt binder. That leaves just 5% for other uses. Almost all of the rest is used in sealing and insulating. 

So most asphalt is accounted for in building roads and waterproofing…but what else is it used for? Believe it or not, asphalt, as simple as it seems, can be used to benefit communities in non-traditional ways. Some of the best ways to benefit a location aren’t always massive infrastructure projects. Sure, installing a sewer system/water treatment, internet and phone lines, and building roads are important for developing any community. However, there are some much more subtle and easy ways to spur development and improve people’s lives. And one of those things require asphalt.

Trails, also known as greenways, are paths built for people o enjoy. Usually these paths are in natural areas, by beaches, in forests, or across prairie. They can also go through parks and nearby neighborhoods. These paths typically don’t allow motor vehicles, but they do allow foot traffic, bicycles, roller blades and skates, and other self-propelled means of transportation. 

Why build a trail system?

Good question. What benefits do trails provide that roads don’t? In fact, most people could probably think of the problems that trails don’t solve more easily.

  • Vehicles can’t ride on them, so they can’t be used to transport too many people or things.
  • They are often windy and indirect, so they don’t get people where they want to go efficiently.
  • They tend to be in remote areas, so they don’t take people where they want to go.
  • Trails are for leisure, not utility. 

These are all fair points, but they miss the main point of trails: they are good for people. Trails benefit people’s mental and physical health, and thus provide an over all benefit to the communities that they are in. 

Let’s take an in-depth look at the benefits of trails and greenways. Asphalt and paving is for more than just cars.

Health benefits

Across all ages and other demographics, when people are nearby trails, they get out more. The benefits to leading more active lives results in happier people and a more productive population. Additionally, the lower medical costs of dealing with healthy people as opposed to unhealthy people means trails can pay for themselves over time. 

  • Trails help control weight and diabetes, as well as cholesterol levels and bone loss associated with aging.
  • The low-impact exercise that is easy to find on trails helps decrease risk of cancers, and helps reduce anxiety and depression. 
  • Easy access to nature is enables people to relax. Studies have shown that spending time in nature does wonders for the mental health of everyone across the board.
  • Short trails enable people to easily get some exercise while going to and from work, school, and or shopping.
  • Trails provide pretty and accessible locations where children can play. Children’s health around trails is improved because they can find places to exercise and play more easily and in nicer settings.
  • A study cited in this in-depth look at trail benefits from the Rails to Trails Conservancy showed that 70% of trail users reported being more active thanks to trail systems nearby.

 

Economic benefits

Trails also provide a boon of economic bonuses to wherever they are. Some of them are in savings (such as lower medical costs in the area because the population is healthier), but many come in the form of increased spending. The ways trails benefit the economy are myriad.

  • Trails increase the property values of nearby homes and businesses.
  • Trails influence business locations and other decisions. As cycling has grown in popularity across the US, numerous restaurants and bars have opened up in otherwise tiny towns. Where did they open? Where cyclists from nearby communities pass through their towns. On longer trails, shopping centers (for trail supplies), and hotels open in order to serve those on long trips.
  • Trails boost spending at local businesses. People come to enjoy trail systems. Along the way, the need to eat and drink too. 
  • Trails provide alternative transportation options. This means people can live happily without cars sometimes. Benefits include:
    • Fuel expenses are lower.
    • Reduced levels of carbon emissions in communities with trails.
    • Less traffic/traffic jams.
    • Less space required for parking and roads.
    • Less environmental impact (fewer roads, traffic, fuel consumption, and parking space required) over all.
  • Trails create higher demand for the areas they are in. They do so because trails make an area more attractive for people to visit and live in. This has several effects:
    • Revitalizing depressed areas. Low income individuals without cars can more easily get around, have jobs and more.
    • Increase property values (as mentioned above). By creating more demand in an area, buildings that were once vacant can be brought back and the whole neighborhood will see the benefits.
  • The money saved from lower medical expenses is also an economic benefit to a community.

 

Trailblazing the way to healthier communities

Here at Reliable Paving, we are interested not only in doing the best jobs we possibly can do on your paving project, but also benefiting your community. We are socially responsible paving contractors who keep up with the ways in which we can benefit you, ourselves, and the world around us. If you are interested in improving your community by bringing in some extra money and making people healthier, contact us for your trail paving project today.

Parking Lot Asphalt Alternatives

Most commercial parking lots are asphalt. But there are a host of new – and old alternatives that can be used. Why might you want to try a different paving material? Maybe you want to minimize your environmental impact. Maybe you’d rather use something that just looks different. Maybe you’d just like to find something more cost-effective. Either way, asphalt actually has quite a few competitors for parking lots.

Permeable solutions

These solutions basically allow drainage right through the parking lot itself. Many traditional lots made from asphalt paving require storm gutters. Benefits of permeable pavements include not needing water drainage gutters, not requiring frequent maintenance, and not requiring the gutters be cleared of debris. Permeable surfaces don’t need seal coating like traditional asphalt either.

Gravel

Gravel is a cost-effective and easy solution to your paving problems. It’s cheap, easy to lay, and pretty low maintenance. But what about lost rocks? Won’t they need to be replaced over time? There are very simple and cheap solutions to maintaining your gravel parking lot. Lattice systems like the Truegrid Paver provide a honeycomb like structure what the asphalt can rest in. This keeps it from loosely being kicked around by vehicles. 

Gravel’s advantages include that it is porous- water pooling, seeping into cracks, and eventually potholing and cracking your pavement won’t be a problem anymore. With asphalt, the water just seeps right through it into the earth. The fact that potholes won’t be a concern anymore is great for vehicles, pedestrians, and business owners looking to avoid lawsuits.

Grass

Grass is great for parking lots that don’t see a too many vehicles, but what about ones that do? Well, it is a viable alternative for busy parking lots thanks to pavers like the one mentioned above. The lattice keeps the grass in place so it doesn’t quickly wear off, rut, or become otherwise damaged. Just like concrete, with grass lots you won’t have to worry about costly maintenance. Potholes, liquid seepage, and more will become a thing of the past. 

Read more about the web-like lattice material used in green alternatives to asphalt here.

Porous/permeable pavements

These types of pavements function like grass and gravel. They provide environmentally-friendly management of water. Storms, rain, and more aren’t problems because the water can work it’s way through the pavement, the pavement’s base, and into the ground below. 

Typically the base of this type of pavement is a spaced out stone bed. The stone bed let’s any liquid make its way back to the earth. The trick is to make the stone bed the right depth so that the water never rises to the asphalt level.

Alternatives to asphalt coating

Asphalt requires seal coating, which is a weatherproofing made for asphalt, concrete, and black top. This coating needs to be re-applied every few years (more depending on weather), and prevents liquids from entering the asphalt. Liquid is the enemy of asphalt, it causes damage by getting inside and then expanding as the temperature changes. In places with freeze-thaw weather cycles, this is devastating to tarmac of any kind (it’s one of the reasons that the Midwest has perennially terrible roads).

Solar reflectivity coatings

Solar reflectance is the ability of a substance to reflect the sun’s light and thus stay cool. Black has a rating of 0, while white has a rating of 100. There have been ideas posited that making every paved surface (in the world) white would help reduce or even reverse some of climate change’s effects. 

Why is it a good thing? It helps reduce the “heat island effect” that a lot of traditional black top gets on hot days in the summer. Not only is this better for the planet, it’s more comfortable for your business’s clients who visit during the summer. This coating can also be placed on walkways, trails, patios, sidewalks, playgrounds, and more to cool the surrounding area. It could even be placed on building roofs that are paved in order to reduce cooling costs.

Bio rejuvenators

Bio-based rejuvenators are an asphalt healing balm. They are derived from waste wood. When applied to asphalt, they sink deep into it, permeating beneath just the top surface. They also preserve parking lot line striping, as they are mostly transparent. Bio-based rejuvenators reduce harmful oxidization of asphalt components (rust). Bio oils also improve an asphalt’s rheology. Rheology is the how material moves/acts when under stress. Basically, this means that they help the asphalt maintain it’s form when thousands of pounds of car weight is on it without breaking or cracking. They also reduce the stiffness of aged asphalt. They are environmentally friendly, so there is not dangerous runoff after application. Additionally, bio oils dry after application in only 15-30 minutes! This means that a road being treated with them has very little down time. 

Asphalt recycling

One of the best alternatives to asphalt paving is…well… asphalt paving. Rather than have completely new pavement installed, old damaged asphalt can be pulverized. This is the process of breaking it back down into it’s component aggregate. Then, the aggregate can be reapplied with new binder and voila, a brand new asphalt surface without new materials. Aggregate makes up 90-95 percent of asphalt by volume, so the ability to recycle the vast majority of your parking lot into your new parking lot is nothing short of fantastic for the environment. Additionally, recycled asphalt is cheaper too – money doesn’t have to be spent on new paving materials.

Get your parking lot paved right

Whether you want a green, cheap alternative, or traditional asphalt, Reliable Paving can help you out. Our 35 years of experience and team of over 200 means no job is too big or too difficult. We keep on top of green paving trends, an recycle a good deal of asphalt ourselves. If you want your paving done right, on budget, on time, and in the best way for yourself and the world, look no further. You need paving that is reliable, and you need a paving contractor that is reliable. Get started today, and let’s see how we can help you.

The Definition, Uses, and Benefits of Perpetual Pavement

What is Perpetual Pavement?

Perpetual Pavement is an asphalt concrete pavement that is designed to last 50 years or longer without any repairs below the wearing course (surface level).  It typically has a multi-layered structure which resists fatigue over time. The triple-layered structure resists structural damage for as long as the top surface is maintained and replaced. While the outer surface is cared for, the rest of the pavement will not to be fully repaired or replaced for many years.

 

Resistance to Pavement Fatigue

The goal of perpetual pavement is to be a deep-strength asphalt paving that resists fatigue. It does so by reducing cracking from the bottom-up. When pavements undergo road traffic, fatigue develops from the cyclical nature and weight of the traffic. The fatigue begins as cracks at the pavement foundation. These foundational cracks then work their way up to the higher layers of pavement. As they do so, the cracks spread out and multiply. Finally, over time, the cracks show themselves on the surface of the asphalt pavement. 

Perpetual pavement is designed specifically to resist bottom-up fatigue cracking and structural rutting. These two types of damage are some of the worst that pavement can receive. It is superior to low-grade pavement that has rutting and cracking before their design-life is achieved. It is also superior to high-grade traditional pavement because it uses materials more efficiently.

 

Differences from Traditional Pavement

Empirical Pavement Design

Traditional pavement is made based on empirical designs. High-quality pavements are typically made using empirical observations. Afterwards, the pavement is designed to meet the observations made. These observations rely on the following set of factors.

1) Traffic levels.

2) An indicator of material quality,

3) Pavement material layers.

Numbers 1 and 2 interact with each other in order to predict what the appropriate levels for number 3 should be. This method is called empirical pavement design. 

Essentially, it works like a math formula. For a given material design (number 2) and traffic levels (1), the pavement material layers (3) should increase or decrease.

The flaw in empirical pavement design is that eventually the pavement thickness is more than enough for the load of traffic. Pavement will be thicker and thicker, but at no real benefit. What this means to builders is that costs will go up but not affect quality. Pavements over-designed by adding 1.5-4.5 inches of thickness added 600-1,800 tons of material per mile of single-lane road. All of this extra weight was beyond necessary levels for the function and lifespan of the road.

 

Mechanistic-Empirical Method (M-E Pavement Design)

Perpetual pavements use a different method of design than traditional pavements. This method uses more factors to create a model. The model is then used with testing and more experimentation to figure out allowable loads and damage. Once the damage level is acceptable, it is ready to go to the final design stages. 

Step 1

There are 3 inputs.

1) Materials.

2) Traffic.

3) Pavement layer thickness.

These three inputs are combined into an analytical model, which gets pavement values. The pavement values determine the allowable load (according to the model)

Step 2

Actual loads are compared to allowable loads on the model to compute damage.

Step 3

If the computed damage level is not too high, the pavement can go into the final design.

Optional Step 4

If the computed damage level is too high, the pavement layer thickness is increased, and then steps 1-3 are repeated. 

 

This methodology was originally used to test metal fatigue.

For a detailed, long-form article about perpetual pavement, as well as good flow charts showing the design process, look at this article from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance. 

 

Pavement Design Life

Regardless of the method of pavement design, a pavement’s life is based on several other factors. In general, for any type of asphalt, the design life can be seen as a function of several factors.

1) Design requirements (method used for design, M-E, or empirical pavement design).

2) Material characteristics (quality of construction materials).

3) Construction practices (quality of build/structure).

4) Layer thickness.

5) Maintenance Activities.

6) Failure Criteria (how failure is defined according to the designer).

 

Design Philosophy

  • Perpetual pavements must have enough structural integrity and thickness to stop cracking, fatigue, rutting, and deforming.
  • Perpetual pavements must be durable to resist damage from traffic and the environment.

 

Physical Design

Layer 1

1.5 To 3 inches of HMA (hot mix asphalt) or OGFC (open grade friction course). HMA is flexible and deflects, or flexes, under loading. The load is dispersed throughout the pavement so each sub layer carries less weight. OGFC is a porous asphalt allowing water to drain through it. It also reduces wet weather crashes.

Layer 2

There are 4 to 7 inches of rut resistant material in layer 2. This is high-strength material that is flexible enough to expand and contract and resist cracking.

Layer 3

Layer 3 is composed of 3 to 4 inches of durable material that resists fatigue. This is the part of the pavement that will receive the most tensile strain (horizontal push/pull). Layer 3 must be resistant to fatigue cracks over time.

Layer 4

The final layer of pavement is the foundation.  This can be compacted subgrade, stabilized subgrade, stabilized aggregate, or unstabilized aggregate like gravel.

 

Why are Perpetual Pavements Beneficial?

  •  Cyclical costs are reduced on the pavement. As long-term damage is avoided, yearly or multi-yearly-accrued damage doesn’t need to be repaired.
  • More efficient design.  They eliminate overly-thick sections of asphalt.
  • Reconstruction costs are eliminated.
  • Delays due to maintenance are fewer and less costly.
  • They reduce use of non renewable asphalts and aggregates.

 

Considering Perpetual Pavement?

If you are thinking about getting your next paving job done, and perpetual pavement seems right for you, let us know. Reliable Paving is a paving contractor with over 35 years of experience across the South and Southwest. We are happy to assist you with any questions you may have about pavement, long life pavement, and pavement maintenance.

Excavators in Paving Projects

Paving projects come in all shapes and sizes. Small jobs, like driveways, probably don’t need any kind of heavy equipment except for rolling the pavement flat after it’s laid. Larger jobs will often need heavy equipment. This is where excavators and backhoes come in.

Why does laying asphalt paving need this kind of heavy machinery? There are two main reasons. The first is when the foundation for the pavement needs to be dug deep. An excavator gets the job done more efficiently than a large team of manual diggers. The other reason is for doing repairs and maintenance on concrete. An excavator can break through damaged  asphalt concrete layers in order to get at the lower layers below. This lets pavers pour a new, flat layer of asphalt where the damaged asphalt was before.

 

What is an Excavator?

An excavator, commonly known as an earth mover, is a large, heavy vehicle with a boom, stick and bucket attached to the front end of the machine. The boom and stick make up a mechanical arm that can be used to manipulate the bucket (or claw). Usually the excavator moves by double treads along the bottom, like a tank.

There are several variations of excavators, each with a  specific function. A wheeled excavator exchanges treads for a set of wheels, making it ideal for moving around construction sites. Wheeled excavators are great for moving on terrain that is already paved. Other various kinds of excavators include suction excavators, which use high water pressure to blast materials loose. Another is the long-armed excavator, which can reach high-up and difficult spots. Check out this in-depth article about different excavator types.

An excavator is one of the largest pieces of heavy equipment available, weighing up to 200,000 pounds.                                                                                                                     

 

Alternatives to Excavators

Manual Digging

Paving contractors can use jackhammers, drills, and other single-person pieces of machinery to dig. These devices have the benefit of being light, easy to transport, and less costly on fuel. However, for large projects, numerous pieces of equipment are needed. Often, one excavator can do the work of a whole team. 

 

Backhoe

The backhoe is the workhorse of a lot of paving operations. This machine is a tractor with a mounted 2-part arm attached to a bucket. It is similar to an excavator, but smaller, and with less power. The main difference between the two is size. An excavator is simply larger and more powerful, and thus suited to bigger tasks. 

The backhoe’s use lies in its versatility. Both machines offer a wide selection of attachments, but the backhoe has more. Additionally, the range of the arm of each device is different. The excavator has a full 360 degree rotation. A backhoe only has about 200 degrees of rotation.

Over all, a backhoe is more suited to medium-sized workplaces with a wide variety of jobs. An excavator is best suited to larges scale construction projects where its size and power shine. Backhoes weigh about 20,000  pounds or less.

 

How to Choose What is Best for Your Project

The best way to choose between which piece of heavy machinery best suits you is to learn about them. Knowing more about backhoes and excavators means you can most easily make the right choice for your project.

 

Size of the Project

As mentioned before, massive projects need massive machinery, so an excavator would be ideal. This is especially true of paving projects as an excavator can break through the damaged layers of asphalt or concrete with its bucket. A backhoe will require special attachments, called hoe rams (think big hammers) for this. Get an excavator to a large project, and it can accomplish a lot, quickly and efficiently. The longer arm of the excavator also helps it move things larger distances over less time.                                                                                          

Other uses for excavators include demolition, landscaping, mining, digging holes, and moving big objects.

For small scale projects, like driveways and small parking lots it may be best to dig without heavy equipment. A team of skilled workers with drills and jackhammers could make shorter, more precise work of a smaller construction site.

 

Project Locations

If a project has multiple work locations, then a backhoe might be best. A long stretch of highway for example, might have stretches where no work is required. For this type of work, a piece of machinery that can more easily move from point-to-point is best. A backhoe can move much faster, about 25 miles per hour on pavement.                                                                            

So, if your project has disparate locations requiring frequent travel, a backhoe is probably more suitable. However, when it comes to certain tasks, like pavement and repairs, a backhoe requires a larger team than an excavator.

 

Deadlines

Despite the difficulty and cost of getting a massive excavator to a site, it’s often worth it. Repairing a frequently-used stretch of road is more important to do quickly than cheaply. Also, working in high-value locations like airports, it’s important to get work done so traffic can resume. When time is of the essence, nothing beats an excavator.                                          

 

What’s the Verdict?

Use an excavator when:

  • The project is massive
  • Deep digging is essential
  • The timeline is short
  • There are fewer people available to work

Use a backhoe when:

  • The project is small or moderately-sized
  • A wider variety of heavy tools are needed
  • There are numerous locations that must be traveled to

Use neither when:

  • The project is small                                                              
  • It is impossible to get heavy machinery to the work location

 

What Does Your Paving Project Need

Do you have a paving project? Whether your project is large, tiny, or in-between, our team of over 200 at Reliable Paving can get the job done. With 35 years of experience, we are experts in asphalt-pavement. We can install new paving, perform maintenance, and consult to help with projects as well. If you have a project, leave it to the experts. Contact us today for a quote.

Asphalt Sealcoating machine

The Right and Wrong Ways to Repave Your Parking Lot

Keeping the parking lot of your business in good working order will save money, improve business, and prevent costly rebuilding in the long run. Maintaining the parking lot correctly will help prevent deeper damage, so that deeper, more costly repairs aren’t necessary. For many visitors, the parking lot is the first experience had with a commercial space. A dilapidated, cracked lot can damage the customer’s car, and sets a bad tone for doing business. Finally, a lot that is taken care of well will be less likely to need a total reconstruction in the future. 

We’ve got some guidelines for making sure your repairs/repaving are done the right way.

Quality VS Speed

The Wrong Way: Speed Over Quality

Although it’s important to get your parking lot paved quickly when there is damage, quality comes first. You’ve probably seen asphalt haphazardly poured into a crack in a road or lot before. The asphalt bulges above the crack, it is loose almost immediately, and it is a great place to damage tires. 

The repair may have been fast, but it won’t last, and will just lead to bigger repairs and higher costs later on.

The Right Way: A Balance of Quality and Speed

Fixing your asphalt lot is important to do quickly for several reasons:

  1. Small problems can get worse. A small crack can easily get water inside. When that water expands and contracts with heat and cold, the crack can spread. The sooner you fix the problem the better.
  2. But make sure your repairs are done with quality in mind. The holes and cracks need to be filled properly. This means they need to be level with the rest of the pavement so as not to damage vehicles. It also means that they need to be properly filled, possibly with support bars inside, or with some excavation of the surrounding pavement to get a better pour.

Fixing your problems quickly and effectively is key. That way you avoid the higher costs of major repairs.

Materials

The Wrong Way: All New Materials

Believe it or not, it’s pretty much never necessary to use new asphalt. The reasons for it are twofold: 

1). It’s not environmentally friendly. New asphalt has to be made from strip-mined rock to get the aggregate material. The second ingredient is refined oil, which makes up the binder that glues the aggregate together. This binder must be pumped and go through the whole oil refining supply chain.

2). It’s more expensive. New asphalt materials cost more. Besides the supply chain mentioned above, they also have to be transported to the construction site.

The Right Way: Recycled Asphalt

Asphalt is the most recycled material in the United States. Not only can recycled asphalt be easily acquired, you may even be able to supply your own. If your blacktop is damaged and in need of repairs, as paving contractor can excavate it, pulverize it, and then lay it again to repave your lot. 

Besides being cheaper because it skips the processing steps that new asphalt goes through, recycling asphalt requires less fossil fuels and produces less pollution.

There’s no reason not to use at least a mix of new and recycled asphalt.

Maintenance

The Wrong Way: Once Yearly or Strictly Scheduled Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to your lot being healthy. The catch basins and manholes have to be clean and free of obstructions. Obstructed canals won’t drain properly. Sitting water slowly gets absorbed into the pavement, where it damages it, causing cracks and eventually larger holes. Maintenance once or twice a year is not usually enough to clear catch basin obstructions and ensure proper water drainage.

The Right Way: Frequent Maintenance, as Well as Inspection and Maintenance After Various Events

Regular maintenance works when it is performed frequently. Depending on the weather in your location, you want the catch basins checked out at once a month or even more. That way, they can be cleared regularly and your lot will have good drainage. 

Also, be sure to inspect and maintain the lot after events like storms, floods, and earthquakes. Severe weather can damage the lot itself as well as blow branches and other debris into catch basins. If you live in a geologically unstable area, with earthquakes, tremors, and or sinkholes, regular checking can ensure your basins are clear, and that there isn’t foundational damage. 

Refreshing your lines and paint goes a long way. Fresh, bright paint on a lot gives the impression of professionalism for the business. It also makes the lot safer to drive on. Remember that the parking lot is the first part of your business that the client sees, so you want them to be safe and have a good impression.

Know When a Deeper Fix is Necessary

The Wrong Way: Resurfacing Forever

In order to cut costs, a lot of companies will simply resurface their lots until they are beyond repair. Resurfacing makes them look nicer, and is certainly cheaper than a repave, but they are rarely a long term solution for serious damage. Small cracks and holes can be fixed by resurfacing.

The Right Way: Resurface Small Faults, Repave Severe Degradation

When your lot has massive holes, deep cracks, and potholes that can damage a car, it’s probably time to repave. A well-paved lot lasts about 20 years with maintenance every 3-5 years. If it’s been over 20 years, your parking lot is without a doubt ready to be repaved.

Looking to Get Your Parking Lot Worked On?

If you think your business’s parking lot needs resurfacing or repaving, let us know. Reliable Paving has been in the business for over 35 years. We are a professional, organized, and experienced company that can do large-scale projects within strict time limits. Reliable is happy to help with your asphalt paving questions and needs. Most importantly, when you need someone to repave or maintain your parking lot, choose a contractor that’s reliable.

red volkswagen beetle parked at road side near pedestrian

Pavement and Vehicle Noise

Choosing the right pavement can help reduce noise from vehicles.

Noise can be defined as an undesired on unpleasant sound. Nobody likes a lot of noise, especially if that noise is the constant hum and roar of vehicles moving. Noise from vehicles comes from three main sources:

  1. Air passing over and around the vehicle.
  2. The engine, drive system, and exhaust of the vehicle.
  3. The tire-pavement noise. 

If you wish to have less sound around your house or place of commerce, it’s good to try to focus on number three: the tire-pavement noise.

Why is it good to reduce noise?

There are plentiful reasons to want to have less noise in your life. They range from mild inconveniences to genuine health risks. Another term for unwanted sound is noise pollution.

Noise builds stress

Having a constant background noise, especially if loud or discordant, creates stress. Do you ever wonder why it can be so hard to sleep on airplanes? The noise of the moving engine builds up internal stress in a person, especially when that person can’t move away from the noise.

The same happens to people at home or in offices when they are buffeted by the constant noise from a nearby road or highway.

Noise can cause hearing loss

This is a genuine health threat from constant noise. Thanks to our industrialized society, loud noises are a fact of life. Construction work is a major offender, as well as loud music, passing planes, and of course, vehicles. 

People who have been exposed to sustained heavy noise over a long period often develop hearing loss. The small hairs in the ear that vibrate to stimulate the eardrum can eventually break, the result is often tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and loss of hearing. 

Noise pollution is a threat to both people and wildlife. Read more about the detriments posed by noise pollution here.

How pavement can reduce noise

Changing the texture of the pavement is what primarily reduces the noise. The less friction involved, the more silently a vehicle travels. When there is less friction, there are less scraping, and humming noises coming from the contact of the vehicle’s tires with the asphalt.

Choosing the right pavement for noise reduction

Picking a pavement that reduces noise can have benefits and drawbacks. Make sure to carefully choose how you want your asphalt to be, and consider the other factors as well when making your choice.

Reducing noise on new asphalt pavement

How to

Use durable, open graded, rubberized asphalt. Open graded asphalt has purposefully designed voids within to allow water drainage. Rubberized asphalt is made from recycled materials (often old tires) blended with asphalt to produce a binder. The binder is then mixed with conventional aggregates.

Economics

Rubberized and open graded asphalt often has a shorter life than other forms of asphalt. This means repairs and replacement will be necessary more often, which can incur higher costs. 

However, the use of more recycled materials in the asphalt also provides a benefit. Landfills need less space for tires. As the asphalt is repaired and renovated, more “garbage” is used in the recycling process, lowering overall waste.

Impact

The lower sounds reduce stress in people and wildlife. The livability of neighborhoods with this type of pavement often improves.

Reducing noise on old asphalt pavement

How to
Perform repairs and coat with sealant. Repairing cracks make the pavement more uniform, as openings like potholes are a significant and disrupting source of noise pollution. Pavement preservation also reduces the formation of new fault lines, cracks, and holes in the pavement. A great way to preserve existing pavement is to seal coat it. Seal coating also has various other benefits for pavement.

Economics

Seal coating and preserving pavement is always a smart economic move. The pavement will last longer, be more durable, and require less emergency care. Seal coating is one of the main ways to reduce future pavement preservation expenses.

Impact

Because the noise is dependent on the pavement, it depends more on vehicle use. Needless to say, the smoother the pavement is, the quieter vehicles will be as they travel over it. The noise reduction improves living standards in surrounding neighborhoods and puts less stress on wildlife.

Other things to keep in mind

Friction

Keeping pavement smooth and friction-low are the two main ways of decreasing vehicle noise in a high-traffic area. However, without friction, cars won’t be able to drive at all. Friction is what gives the tires grip on the ground. 

If you are planning on installing low-friction, low-noise pavement, be absolutely sure that it provides enough friction for safe driving.

Noise pollution is nothing new, and it’s here to stay

From the advent of conversation noise pollution has been a thing. Whether it’s from unwanted music, traffic, or heavy machinery, noise pollution isn’t going away any time soon. 

Make sure that the area where you are installing the pavement will actually make a difference when it comes to noise reduction. It’s possible that a parking lot is too far away from a business to affect what’s happening inside the building. People usually drive slowly on parking lots, so a low-noise paving solution might not even be noticeable, depending on the pavement you are using. 

You can read about various countries’ studies on noise-reducing pavement and the effects in this report.

What pavement is right for you?

If you are looking to have some asphalt paving done in and around Texas, we’re the team for you. We offer paving solutions of all kinds, backed up by over 35 years of experience. Our team of over 200 can get massive jobs done in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our offerings include asphalt paving and repair, concrete repair, seal coating, parking lot striping, and assurance of ADA compliance. Reliable Paving are the asphalt paving contractors who can get the job done. If you have questions about noise-reducing paving, or anything else paving-related, get in touch with us today.

 

paving

Asphalt and Paving in Summer 2020

Predictions and analysis of the demand for paving work that will be done during the summer of 2020

COVID-19 Has Changed Almost Everything

It’s safe to say that COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019, has changed the world. Almost every facet of life is now different. Masks are required in public, and in many other enclosed spaces (as well as private businesses). Large-group get-togethers like concerts won’t be happening any time soon. Almost every aspect of life has changed, and most of it for the worse.

Additionally, business is down in general. Restaurants and entertainment venues are operating at half-capacity if they’re open at all. Many businesses have closed, and won’t ever reopen. 

But what does that mean for paving works this summer? Roads are still being traversed, and parking lots still need to be safe for vehicles and pedestrians alike.

You’ve come to the right place to get that exact question answered.

 

Asphalt and Paving Works in Mid-2020

So, what about construction, and specifically paving? Riding in hot from a strong market in 2019, the asphalt and paving industry look to be in for a great 2020. 

But what about the market downturn? How has that changed the outlook for paving projects?

Fortunately, asphalt and paving seem to have weathered the storm. As we move into the middle of the year and safety measures are solidly in place against the virus, this corner of the world can move on with just a few key safety measures in place. 

 

Early 2020

With “shovel ready” projects booked from 2019, plus some hefty government funding, 2020 looked to be a boon year for the paving industry. Federal highway funding increased by $6 Billion in 2017, from $46 Billion.

Despite cautioning that business might take a serious downturn in March, however, it seems most projects have been going on as planned. Paving, particularly as infrastructure, is essential for any community, and so the paving workers were considered essential.

Here are some of more reasons why the paving industry can plan full steam ahead this year:

  • Incomplete projects from last year. Federal funding for 2019 wasn’t released until February 2019, so many 2019 projects are still incomplete and need to be finished this year instead.
  • 2020 Funding was allocated in December 2019. This means that 2020 projects could be backed-up by two years’-worth of funding.
  • FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP). This 2020 and 2019 program provides grants to public (and sometimes private) organizations. The grants are designed to aid the planning and development of public-use airports. 
  • America’s Transportation and Infrastructure Act of 2019. This bill does quite a lot to keep the paving industry moving:
  • It increases funding for tribal and federal lands transportation programs.
  • The bill “requires the Department of Transportation to encourage each state to develop a voluntary plan that provides for the immediate and long-term personnel and workforce needs of the state to deliver transportation and public infrastructure projects.”
  • And so much more—read the bill for yourself here.

 

Summer 2020

As midyear approaches, it seems that paving and asphalt projects are still going strong. However, it also makes sense to have some cautious optimism. Here are some other factors to consider.

Funding Sources

Roughly 65% of paving and asphalt project funding comes from the federal, state, and local government. The other 35% comes from private markets, both commercial and residential. Government money is fairly reliable, since once a bill becomes law, the funding appears. The private market, however, is much more volatile. 

In the case of a disastrous second-wave of COVID-19 cases throughout the U.S., it’s possible that the private market could take a swift downturn. Additionally, as states open up and numbers of infections start to climb again, there could be another devastating market downturn. Businesses that aren’t open, schools that aren’t running, and government buildings that are shut down won’t need paving services.

 

Demand Changes

It’s difficult to predict how demand will change exactly for construction services like asphalt paving. There are several reasons, among them:

  • Much of paving needs to be done during low-business times. If a business is shut down, and has the liquid cash needed to get by until it reopens, it could go through with a paving project it had planned anyway. The project needs to be done—and with no clients, the construction can be done more easily and far faster.
  • If businesses don’t survive however because of virus levels spiking and causing closures, then demand will correspondingly decrease.
  • The stay-at-home-effect. In the case that lock-downs are again used, with only essential workers going about their business, it would be a perfect time to get city, highway, and other public works paving projects complete. The fewer people on the roads, the more efficiently workers can do their jobs.
  • Demand from government sources seems to be steady in the storm. An internet search for “paving projects summer 2020” reveals many cities and states going about their asphalt paving projects undeterred. As of late March (after lock downs and social distancing measures began in many states), asphalt and paving projects in almost all states were nonetheless ongoing.

 

We’re Still Here for You

If you need a paving project done in, you’ve come to the right place. Reliable Paving is a professional, high-quality, and extremely experienced paving contractor. With over 35 years of experience, we have the know-how and expertise to solve your paving needs. 

Come to us for asphalt paving, concrete repair, seal coating, and parking lot striping. We ensure success and guarantee satisfaction. Is your project a big one? With 19 crews and over 200 employees, we can handle large-scale projects skillfully and deftly. Contact us today to see why we are the local leader among paving companies in Arlington, Texas.