When you drive or walk on pavement, you probably assume that all pavement is more or less the same — including the way it is mixed and installed by professionals. Over time, weather and traffic begin to wear down the pavement. Then it becomes necessary to fix or maintain the surface (or in some cases mill the old material and start over).
But the truth is, there are many different kinds of asphalt pavement. The mix of asphalt used, in addition to the installation methods and techniques, can have a marked effect on the final result. Here are three types of pavement you probably didn’t know about.
1. Perpetual Pavement
This type of pavement has actually existed for a long time, although it came about “accidentally” and wasn’t really recognized as a distinct type of pavement until the year 2000. You might come across many different definitions, and some of them are too technical for the average person to grasp (unless you have experience in pavement applications). In a nutshell, however, perpetual pavement is a multi-layered process in which the deeper, sub-surface levels of the pavement are made tougher and stronger. The goal is to keep the surface viable for a long time, and to minimize the need for maintenance as the years pass. This method is often used for public roads where constant traffic and pressure are exerted on the surface. It also requires careful calculations about what the heaviest vehicle on the road will be, and how the construction needs to be fortified to handle that weight.
2. Warm Mix Asphalt
Asphalt is normally very hot when installed, but lowering that temperature by up to 100 degrees (so that the asphalt is only ‘warm’, rather than hot) is beneficial for a number of reasons, in a number of different situations. First, you have reduced energy-usage and greenhouse gases compared to what’s produced by a normal asphalt installation. It also allows professionals to install asphalt in cooler weather, thus lengthening the season in which pavement installations are possible. As to whether warm mix asphalt is right for your project, ask a qualified professional.
3. Quiet pavement
Did you know that the noise of traffic on asphalt can actually be mitigated by using certain techniques and materials during the installation process? We could all do with a little less noise in our lives, and quiet pavement is highly useful for this reason — particularly from a city planning perspective. Specifically, this process usually involves the use of special asphalt mixes (e.g. stone-matrix or open-grade friction course asphalts) in order to make the surface smoother and more durable. Recent research has shown significant drops in noise levels when quiet pavement techniques and mixes are used.
Who is installing YOUR pavement?
Depending on your needs, the types of pavement mentioned here might not apply to you. What does apply to you, however, is finding a highly professional and experienced contractor to handle whatever pavement project you have on your list. That means finding someone who knows asphalt inside and out, and is happy to discuss ways to optimize your project to suit your needs and give the best long-term result.