Top Preventative Road Maintenance Techniques

The number one objective of road maintenance is the safety of motorists. That is why road maintenance must be carried out in both emergencies and periodically. However, the best strategy for ensuring the safety of motorists is by conducting preventative road maintenance. It refers to planned maintenance, where the primary objective is to repair a road early enough to avoid further deterioration. There are different methods of preventive maintenance, but only three are deemed the best in the industry. This article explores the top preventative road maintenance techniques.

Crack Sealing

Over time, roads start to deteriorate due to environmental conditions, and this is where preventative road maintenance comes in. For example, cracks are a common sight in asphalt roads. Eventually, water reaches the base and sub-base, thereby leading to faster deterioration. The best way to prevent deterioration is to carry out crack sealing immediately when cracks become visible. Most people confuse crack sealing with crack filling. While the terms are often used interchangeably, it is crucial to understand that crack sealing is preventative maintenance, while crack filling is reactive maintenance. Crack sealing addresses cracks early on, thereby preventing water intrusion. In contrast, crack filling is a form of repair conducted once water attacks the sub-base.

Chip Sealing

When a road is used for a long time, it begins to lose its texture and friction properties. The phenomenon increases the chances of vehicles skidding out of control, especially during wet weather, which can cause serious road accidents. While it is possible to redo a road that has lost its surface tactility, it is an expensive option. Chip sealing is a cheaper preventative road maintenance procedure that goes a long way towards preventing skidding accidents. It involves applying a thin layer of hot asphalt to a road's surface, followed by small aggregates referred to as chips. A compaction machine then rolls over the chips so that they adhere to the hot asphalt well. Chip sealing can extend the life of an asphalt road by up to 30 years for a fraction of the cost of standard asphalt overlay.

Dig Outs

Different roads are designed to handle different weights. However, environmental factors can affect the underlying supporting materials and cause a road to lose its load-carrying capacity. In other cases, sharp or fine-grained materials can lodge into asphalt, thereby posing a danger to vehicles on the road. Such localised issues are best addressed with dig outs. The maintenance technique gets its name from the fact that a localised area has to be dug out and the underlying base or sub-base removed and replaced. As a preventative road maintenance method, dig outs take time and must be conducted only when it is necessary.