Most Common Road Repairs

No matter how good a road is constructed, asphalt will begin to deteriorate almost immediately, causing distresses to form in the road.  Some of the factors that accelerate the deterioration of a road include traffic, moisture, and lack of preventive maintenance treatment.   Below is a breakdown of some of the more common road 
 
Cracking – Over time, different types of cracks may begin to form in roads. This includes Alligator Cracking, Block Cracking and Longitudinal Cracking just to name a few.  If not treated early water can penetrate the base underneath, eventually causing potholes and further deterioration to occur.
 
The Treatment – If cracks are less than ½ inch, and there are no structural issues underneath, crack sealant may be used to treat the cracks.  Crack sealant is made from liquid asphalt, oils, polymers, extenders and in some cases, recycled rubber. Before sealant is placed inside cracks, debris like dirt, loose rocks or any vegetation, are cleared out.  Crack sealing can prevent further damage and will help extend the life of the road another two to five years.     
 

Potholes - Potholes are holes in the roadway that vary in size and shape. They are caused by the expansion and contraction of ground water after the water has entered into the ground under the pavement. When water freezes, it expands and creates cracks in the road and it leaves a hole under the road surface once the water eventually evaporates. As cars drive over this now weak pavement, the weight of the traffic collapses the road surface and a pothole forms.
 
 
The Treatment – Loose material inside the pothole is removed and then filled with a mixture of emulsion, stone and sand called cold-mix asphalt. Crews will then compact the cold-mix with hand tools and then allow passing traffic to further compress the cold-mix into the hole. This allows the road to be reopened for traffic almost immediately after treatment. In Lancaster, potholes will generally be filled within 72 hours of being reported. 
 

Surface Deformation – There are several types of Surface Deformations that can occur on asphalt roads.  Rutting, pushing, and shoving are just a few of the deformations that the pavement surface can experience.  Surface Deformations are common in intersections, where there is braking and stopping traffic and within areas that experience high traffic and heavy loads.
 
The Treatment – Depending on the severity of the deformation, treatment may consist of a slurry seal, chip seal, or an overlay.  A slurry seal is a thin mixture that fills surface cracks and voids, seals out moisture, and adds a uniform appearance to the street. Chip Seals are one or more layers of fine aggregate that is placed over existing asphalt. An overlay is the placement of a much thicker layer of asphalt over existing asphalt.  Depending on which of these treatments are used, they will help extend the life of a road anywhere from 5 to 20 years. 
 

Severe Distress – Roads that have structurally failed, can no longer support traffic demand or cannot be repaired by the other treatment methods will fall into the Severe Distress category.  In most cases, the subgrade and/or the aggregate base underneath the road will have issues that need to be addressed before the asphalt surface can be replaced. 
 
The Treatment – Once a road reaches levels of Severe Distress that cannot be repaired by other treatment methods, road reconstruction is necessary.  Reconstruction is the replacement of the entire existing pavement structure by the placement of the equivalent or increased pavement structure. Reconstruction may utilize either new or recycled materials incorporated into the materials used for the reconstruction of the complete pavement section. Reconstruction increases the structural capacity of the pavement to a level that is required for long term performance, extending the life of the road by 20 to 25 years.