8 Innovations in Road Surface Products & Techniques

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8 Innovations in Road Surface Products & Techniques

To the untrained eye, a road surface is just a layer of asphalt or concrete. But there is an abundance of products, techniques and treatments that can do everything from preventing pavement from cracking to lessening traffic noise to helping us conserve water.

Here are eight innovations in road-surface products and road building techniques that are driving the future of road construction.

1. Noise-reducing asphalt

There have been a few cost-benefit analyses completed that show that using asphalt to reduce noise levels makes more sense than constructing sound wall barriers. For example, Durawhisper is a Lafarge product designed to reduce traffic noise while meeting all the normal specifications for hot-mix asphalt. It’s ideal for use in residential areas.

2. Eco-friendly manufacturing

As a result of the focus on green technologies that is permeating the industry, asphalt mixes are being developed that have less of an impact on the environment.

Case in point, Lafarge’s Duraclime is a warm mix that meets all the specifications of a hot mix.

Because it is manufactured at a lower temperature, odor, smoke, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced during manufacturing. And according to the company’s website, using Duraclime can lower the carbon footprint of an asphalt-producing plant by up to 20 percent.

3. Eco-friendly ingredients

Another way manufacturers are making roads more sustainable from an environmental perspective is by using recycled material in the mix. For instance,Vegecol by Canadian Road Builders Inc., offers a mix called that is made entirely from renewable, plant-based material and can be used on major roads as well as for walking and biking paths.

Like Duraclime, Vegecol is manufactured at a cooler temperature, reducing its carbon footprint. As an added benefit, there are no petrochemical ingredients to contaminate run off water.

4. Computer modelling

Computer modelling is being used much more for designing structures, benefiting taxpayers and resulting in better performing roadways. In fact, using computer modelling for a structure like an overpass, for instance, is much more effective. Engineers can test ideas and you can instantly see the impacts, including the cost impacts, of changes.

5. Water-saving pavement

Built using porous asphalt or pervious concrete, water-saving paved surfaces allow storm water to drain through the surface into a catchment area below. The products work well in parking lots, allowing owners to collect runoff and store it for uses such as on-site irrigation.

6. Perpetual pavements

Perpetual pavements are designed to last around 50 years, compared to 20 years for conventional pavements. This increase in durability is due to the components of superior-performing asphalts and the ability to model and analyze road systems before construction.

In short, fatigue cracking occurs when the tensile strength at the bottom of the asphalt exceeds the limit. So the trick with perpetual pavement is to design it from the bottom up.

7. Full-depth reclamation

Repairing roads has traditionally involved removing the old asphalt pavement and hauling it off-site for disposal. Full-depth reclamation is a repairing technique in which the old asphalt is mixed with the underlying gravel and the resulting asphalt/gravel combination is used to form a new road base.

Mixing the asphalt into the gravel has been proven to produce a better-quality base material, saves the cost and environmental implications of removing the old asphalt from the site and reduces the amount of new aggregate used.

8. Collaboration

It’s not a product or a road building technique, but it is affecting the quality of roads. Industry partners — the roadbuilder group, transportation people from all levels of government, consulting engineers — are sharing information and best practices, and taking a much more collaborative approach in creating a solution. The result going forward is going to be better products and even more innovation.

Related Reading: Dust Suppression Saves Water and Money

Interested in learning more about industry-leading soil stabilization and dust suppressants? At RoadPacker Solutions, our experts are trained to help provide your company with the best dust control and soil stabilization products on the market that suit your project requirements. From suppressing dust on construction sites to preventing mine stockpile erosion, we have an effective and eco-friendly solution for you.

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