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Maintenance Methods and FAQs

Street Condition Terms
 
Raveling is the first stage of pavement degradation which begins the day the road is paved and increases with age. It is caused by weather, expansion and contraction, UV, oxidation, and traffic.
 
Cracking is caused by surface compression, expansion and contraction. Cracks allow water to penetrate the road surface leading to additional pavement failures. Single cracks not quickly repaired lead to alligator cracking and potholes.
 
Alligator cracking is a defect where a single crack has grown into interlocking cracks.
 
Rutting describes depressions in the roadway primarily caused by heavy weight vehicles. Poor base at time of road construction and water intrusion are contributing factors.
 
Delamination occurs when a thin top layer of asphalt has disintegrated leaving the underlying asphalt exposed. This distress is usually caused by poor adhesion between layers or aged asphalt and is most commonly found on the edges of the roadway.
 
Potholes occur when a layer or more of asphalt roadway is gone, exposing the bottom layer of asphalt or the road base. Usually the result of continued degradation of other types of distresses, potholes can also be the result of failed asphalt or base, or poor asphalt mix.  
 
Types of Preventative Maintenance
 
Crack Sealing:
Crack sealing provides the lowest cost way to extend the service life of a roadway, keeping roads in good condition. Roadway cracks are cleaned of debris and vegetation, then sealed with a hot-applied rubberized filler to prevent water intrusion. The sealed cracks are then sprayed with de-tack to prevent adhesion to vehicle tires.
 
Slurry Seal:
Slurry sealing applies a mixture of water, asphalt emulsion, aggregate (small crushed rock), and additives to an existing pavement surface which seals cracks, restores flexibility, preserves underlying pavement, and provides a rich, black surface color. Roads that can benefit from slurry seal treatment are those with low to moderate distresses and narrow crack widths.
 
Roads chosen for slurry seal are evaluated for distresses, bad areas of asphalt are patched, cracks are filled, pavement markings are removed, roads are swept, and the slurry is applied utilizing a special truck. The sealant must cure from 2-6 hours prior to allowing traffic on the roadway. To complete the process, the surface is swept after proper curing and pavement markings are reapplied. 
 
Chip Seal:
Chip sealing provides a road surface 5-10 years of additional wear-life depending on traffic volumes at 15% - 20% the cost of pavement overlays. This treatment prevents water penetration of the road structure, improves skid resistance and reduces glare during wet weather, minimizes the effects of aging, and improves surface reflectivity for night driving. The process moves quickly and newly chipped roads can be driven on almost immediately, minimizing lengthy delays.
 
Roads chosen for chip sealing are evaluated for maintenance needs and any cracks or raveled surfaces are patched and sealed with a special hot-applied rubberized filler. An emulsified mixture is applied to the road utilizing a special spray truck. Immediately after spraying this liquid asphalt, a layer of crushed gravel is applied and compacted into the asphalt with a rubber-tired and steel drummed roller. Although the surface can be driven on nearly immediately after application, total curing requires up to 2 days. Once fully cured, loose gravel is swept from the surface and a fog seal is applied, sealing the surface and providing a finished appearance. Finally striping, legends, and crosswalks are replaced.
 
Overlay:
Overlay is the process of paving a second layer of asphalt 1 to 2 inches thick over existing asphalt adding structure to existing asphalt roadways. Streets must be structurally sound to be chosen for an overlay. This treatment is utilized as a pavement preservation technique because it provides improved ride quality, reduces existing pavement distresses, maintains surface geometrics, reduces noise levels, and provides long lasting service. The cost of an overlay is significantly higher than slurry or chip seals; therefore, it is reserved for streets with significant pavement defects or roads nearing the end of their service life.
 
Overlay streets are first evaluated for repair needs. Severely distressed or cracked areas may need to be removed and patched prior to overlay. Any underground utility repairs or improvements are made. Manholes and water valves are lowered, street edges ground down, and new asphalt is laid. Any removed pavement markings are re-applied and manholes are brought up to grade at a later date completing the process.

Full Depth Reclamation (FDR) and Traditional Road Reconstruction:
 
Reconstruction is chosen when the condition of the roadway has deteriorated beyond the overlay stage. This is the most costly type of road maintenance. Typically these roads include major potholes, rutting, base failures, and significant cracking.

FDR is not a viable choice when there are multiple utility conflicts within the roadway or the road to be repaired is relatively small.
 
FDR is preferred over traditional reconstructions. In the latter, old asphalt is removed and then the base (surface below the asphalt) is dug down to a depth determined by engineers and replaced with rock. After compaction, new asphalt is laid. This process creates large amounts of waste, requires hauling out of significant volumes of old road, and in virgin materials. With FDR, the existing roadway is pulverized, cement is then mixed in and the roadway is compacted. New asphalt is then laid down and compacted. This process minimizes material haul off and the need to bring in large amounts of virgin materials.


FAQ
 
General Questions:
Q: My neighbor’s street was chosen to be slurry/chip sealed, patched, crack sealed or overlaid and not mine. My road is in much worse condition.
A: Crack, slurry, and chip seals as well as maintenance overlays are appropriate for streets with minimal distresses and in overall good condition. Sealing/overlaying roads at this stage delays further degradation and costly repairs. The goal of the City’s maintenance program is to prevent a street from falling into a lesser OCI (Overall Condition Index) category. Overlays are chosen for streets that are structurally sound but the asphalt is nearing the end of its service life. The City of Ashland routinely inspects streets for distresses and utilizes a pavement management program to rate the condition of the roadway and track street age. These factors are used to plan maintenance and determine the most cost-effective use of maintenance dollars.
 
Q: When will my street be repaired? It is in terrible shape.
A: It is possible your street is beyond the preventative maintenance stage and will need a much more costly and large-scale repair. The City prioritizes streets in this category by analyzing traffic volumes, condition, and repair cost estimates. While part of the budget is dedicated to this type of repair, they are costly projects and it will take time for all streets in Ashland to be addressed. The majority of the City’s street maintenance budget is spent on preventative maintenance because each dollar goes farther, affecting a larger portion of the infrastructure keeping the streets in good condition or preventing them from falling into a lesser condition category.
 
Slurry Seal and Chip Seal questions:
Q: Will I still be able to come and go to my home during the closure?
A: If you need to leave your home on a seal day, we recommend parking your vehicle on an adjacent street. Chip seal projects are controlled by flaggers and have minimal delays. Slurry seal projects, however, require no surface traffic for approximately 4-6 hours ensuring no damage to the newly placed sealant. Additionally, the product used is difficult to remove from vehicles and driveways.
 
Q: If the road is closed, what happens if there is an emergency?
A: Emergency vehicles will have access at all times. Dispatch is notified of daily closures so they are able to plan as necessary.
               
Q: My street is scheduled for sealing during trash pickup. What about mail?
A: Place your trash cans out as normal. Pickup will continue as scheduled although time of pick up may be earlier or later than normal. Mail will be delivered as normal.
 
Q: The road seems to still be sticky/soft.
A: This is normal, especially on a hot day. Although this can occur on new and old seals, it is more common on a newly sealed roadway.
 
Q: There is a lot of rock on the edges of the roadway. Is this normal?
A: Rock loss is common on a newly sealed road and may continue for up to a year. It is more noticeable on steep hills and areas of braking and turning tires. This will not affect the finished product and is to be expected. The City’s street sweepers will pick up the lost rock during normal sweeping.
 
Q: The new slurry/chip seal looks rough and uneven. You can see the joints/seams. Will you come redo it?
A: For the first month, vehicle traffic will continue to “knead” in the rock. Lines and roughness will dissipate, taking up to a year for the surface to completely even out. It is common for the road to look rough and have scuff marks during this time.

Overlay and Paving Questions:
 
Q: Will I still be able to come and go to my home during paving?
A: During patching work, closures are localized and residents will still have access to their homes with short delays. If you need to leave your home on an overlay day, we recommend parking your vehicle on an adjacent street. They newly laid asphalt can not be driven on until compacted and cooled down.
 
Q: If the road is closed, what happens if there is an emergency?
A: Emergency vehicles will have access at all times. Dispatch is notified of daily closure so they are able to plan as necessary.
           
Q: My street is scheduled for paving during trash pickup. What about mail?
A: Place your trash cans out as normal. Pickup will continue as scheduled although time of pick up may be earlier or later than normal. Mail will be delivered as normal.
 
Q: Why has my street had work done on it? There are multiple patches but was not completely repaved?
A: The patch work may have been done by due to work on underground utilities or there may have been a major failure that needed immediate attention but the overall roadway was not scheduled for work at that time. It is also possible your street may have been prepared for a slurry seal or overlay at a later date or a following year.
 
Q: My street looks perfectly fine. Why are you wasting money paving it?
A: The City uses a pavement management program to choose treatments for each roadway in the City based on it’s life cycle. Your road is rated for an overlay due to age, condition, functional classification, and traffic volume. A maintenance overlay prevents the road from falling into a lesser condition classification and needing more costly repairs. The amount of work done on roads within the City is controlled by available funding. The City maximizes dollars by prioritizing preventative maintenance.

 

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