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How a Road is Paved

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Have you ever stopped to think about the different steps needed for safe road maintenance?

There’s little doubt that most of us view road construction and road maintenance as an extreme annoyance. It’s something that slows us down as we try to make our way to our final destinations. But, when you stop and think about it — with a truly unbiased opinion — the sight of a road construction crew rolling out a brand-new batch of asphalt or concrete patching products should be a cause for celebration, wonder and awe, not frustration, annoyance and anger.

how a road is paved
Not only is road maintenance an important part of keeping our nation’s infrastructure running smoothly, but it is also quite an amazing process. Those orange barrels don’t just show up one day and disappear a few weeks later. An asphalt paving project is a highly sophisticated process, requiring careful planning and the systematic juggling of any number of steps.

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And so, in a salute to what is probably one of the most underappreciated industries in our nation, we thought we would offer a brief look at how to repair asphalt roads.

Phase #1: Planning and Design

road pavingExcavation, earthwork and paving are what most people think of when they hear the words “road construction.” However, long before the first shovel is ever lifted, countless hours go into planning and design. Below are just a few of the items that must be considered before beginning road maintenance:

  • Traffic volume and location
  • Terrain and soil properties
  • Utility lines, drainage and sewers
  • Climate, environmental and residential requirements
  • Future expansion possibilities
  • Road maintenance costs

 

Phase #2: Excavation and Earthwork

The area on which the road will be laid must first be cleared of all vegetation, trees, shrubs and bushes. After this process is completed, the next steps involve shaping, mounting and grading the surface:

  • Mounting: Mounting gives the road its shape. During this stage, a combination of excavation machinery and bulldozers are used to move and mount dirt and soil across the road.
  • Grading: After the road has been mounted it then needs to be graded. Using a combination of manual labor and planning machinery, called graders, the surface layer is smoothed and leveled.
  • Aggregating: Once the soil has been leveled, an aggregate base of soil, concrete and limestone is used to stabilize the roadway. During this phase, curbs, gutters and drains are also constructed

road excavating

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 Phase #3: Asphalt Paving

During this final phase, the asphalt is poured and laid. Take note: Depending on the estimated traffic volumes and regional climate conditions, the asphalt paving job can require up to four different layers of asphalt:

  • Gravel Layer: Also known as the frost blanket, a mixture of gravel and sand is laid to eliminate the effects of freezing and thawing temperatures.
  • Base Layer: Using bitumen, cement or lime as the predominant binder, a bound base course is laid over the unbound base course.
  • Surface Layer: Responsible for providing friction, smoothness, noise control, and drainage, the surface layer is composed of the highest quality materials.

asphalt paving
These are just a few of the steps involved in paving a road. In reality, the entire asphalt paving process can take years to complete. And while knowing how a road is paved may not help you reach your destination any faster, we hope it gives you something to think about the next time those orange barrels slow you down.

At Unique, we strive to provide top-quality asphalt repair and concrete patching products for your business or municipality. Explore all of our patching and pavement preservation products today.

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