Our “Pavement Management” class was created to address the consistent challenges we see managers face with asphalt projects and the bidding process. It is geared to help owners and managers learn more about pavement failure and how to get contractors to get you the right scope of work the first time so you can better results at a better price point (in less time). It highlights the following points:
- Understanding the critical needs of pavement structure from subgrade to the surface.
- Identifying common asphalt issues and learning appropriate repairs/costs/lifespans.
- Knowing what to do if you get apples to oranges bids so you don’t miss out.
- Setting up a successful job walk and developing the right scope of work the first time.
- Understanding the process of concrete work and how it impacts your asphalt.
PRICE IS VITAL,
BUT BE CAUTIOUS OF THE LOWEST BID.
While price is a concern to us all, keep in mind that the lowest bid may cost you more in the long run. Did the contractor forget to include important costs that you will have to see later as a change order? Did they bid the appropriate repair for that failure type? A company that has the right type of insurance to keep you covered and the top performing equipment to get your project completed correctly and efficiently affects price and value as well.
Sometimes, to get the job done 'right' it will cost more. There is little sense in spending money on a "cheap fix" up front when having to repeat the same repairs will end up costing you a lot more in just a few short years, or possibly even months. For example, when you have severe alligator cracking throughout your parking lot, and it receives a 1" overlay without any preparatory treatment to the existing pavement, you should expect to see the cracks reflect through the new surface within months. Preparatory treatment may include removal and replacement of base material and asphalt in failed areas such as potholes and grinding down the remaining surface which can reduce the width of the surface cracks to prepare it for the overlay. Adding hot oil and a mat/paving fabric on top of this prepared surface before doing an asphalt overlay of 1.5" is another appropriate step in constructing the right repair and maximizing the lifespan of your new surface.
Keep in mind that about 95% of all pavement failure is due to issues with the subgrade; what's underneath the pavement. Your surface repairs can only be effective if the foundation it is constructed on is as well. Your contractor needs to consider the root cause for failure and address it to repair the pavement properly. Secure the subgrade (remove failed subgrade and replace with stable base material) and repair any worst case areas of asphalt before installing Petromat/Fabric/Mat/overlays is one way to achieve success.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FLOWLINE, CURB, AND GUTTER
Asphalt's biggest enemy is water! Protect your asphalt pavement from erosion by ensuring effective concrete structures to help carry water away from it. Flowline, Curb, and Gutter are crucial structures that facilitate the evacuation of surface water (i.e. rain and irrigation waste) from asphalt pavement to protect it from erosion and decay. A concrete flowline that is heavily cracked cannot perform its duty to collect and carry away water from the bordering asphalt. Instead, it leaves water to wash away the adhesive and waterproofing properties of the asphalt, allowing it to dry out, crack, and ravel. The damaged asphalt then allows water to seep through to deteriorate the sub-base/sub-grade which compromises it's ability to withstand the pressure of heavy traffic loads.
ASHALT IS NOT MEANT TO ACT
AS A BRIDGE
A damaged flowline can allow water to create a void of material underneath the Asphalt, in effect leaving a bridge. Asphalt is not meant to act as a bridge and is only as strong as the foundation beneath it. It requires an effective sub-base and sub-grade to support its weight-bearing traffic. When the foundation beneath asphalt is compromised, the surface is destined for issues like potholes and alligator cracking. These are typical causes for expensive removal and replacement costs.
ARE TRASH TRUCKS TRASHING YOUR ASPHALT?
Have you found that the asphalt in front of your dumpsters is getting crushed and broken by your city dump trucks? Trash trucks are the leading cause of asphalt damage. Generally, parking lots are not constructed to handle heavy truck traffic. It has been discovered that one trip of a trash truck has the same effect on an asphalt parking lot as 9,600 trips of a car! This extremely heavy load can severely damage asphalt and may cause the need for costly removal and replacement early on.
INSTALL A CONCRETE TRASH TRUCK PAD
You may save money from repetitive asphalt repairs by installing Concrete Pads in front of the dumpsters. The Concrete Pads are much more capable of withstanding the intense pounding and shuddering of a trash truck than the typically used thickness of asphalt. Talk to your United Paving representative to consider this option as well as an option to construct an asphalt thickness to handle such a heavy weight-bearing load.
SIDE WALKS AND TRIP HAZARDS. NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.
While cracks or elevated sections in your sidewalk may appear to be no big deal, keep in mind they may be trip-hazards. Trip-hazards are major risk factors for lawsuits and high insurance premiums. Trip-hazard repair costs are almost insignificant to the cost of a major lawsuit!
WHEN LOOKING AT YOUR ASPHALT, FACE THE SUN.
FACING THE WRONG DIRECTION
(with the sun on your back)
Asphalt problems tend to hide. The asphalt shown above is dirty, but it appears to be in good condition.
FACING THE RIGHT DIRECTION
(TOWARD THE SUN)
Now the asphalt problems, including alligator cracking, are easier to see. Can you believe this is the same area of asphalt only viewed from the opposite direction? Now you can see the need for repairs.