It is quite impossible for any road to last forever. The constant traffic, weight and weather on the road, all contribute to it wearing down overtime. This is what exactly happened to one such road on Michigan Street in Devon, Alberta.
There were visible signs that the road needed repair work. The road had clear signs of wear, tears and cracks. There were also some visible potholes that made life difficult for the residents of Devon.
Rehabilitation and not reconstruction
One of the questions we were asked was why not reconstruct the road. Building the road from scratch offers some advantages such as a renewed road right from the bottoms-up to give the residents of Devon a stronger and better road.
However, the disadvantages of road reconstruction were outweighed by the benefits of road rehabilitation. Road reconstruction requires a long period of time, a large section of the road needs to be shut, causing inconvenience, and it is costly. In comparison, road rehabilitation is much more cost-efficient and requires less time.
Had Michigan Street gone without any repair for a few more months, the state of the road would have reached a damage level wherein the best option would be road reconstruction.
Milling and overlay
A Milling Machine
With today’s technology, repairing a road is not that difficult. The milling and overlay process is the most common one among road rehabilitation. We’re not going to get into the details, but here’s a quick overview:
- The top layer of the road is removed by a milling machine. This is usually about a 2 inch layer
- The overlay process adds a fresh layer of bituminous and asphalt pavement in place
People and the weather
There were two constant challenges that we’ve had to keep in mind when conducting road rehabilitation on the Michigan Street.
Road rehabilitation on such a large stretch is sure to inconvenience the residents of Michigan Street. We kept each and every resident informed of when the project was starting, when it was expected to end and ensuring that no vehicles were near the road rehabilitation site.
Even before starting our work, we had to have traffic control in place. Warning signs and flaggers were positioned around so that vehicles would avoid the road rehabilitation zone.
And then there was the weather, something quite beyond our control. This year’s summer has been quite wet. Almost every day had at least one thunderstorm followed by rain. Paving work during the rain is impossible. We had to wait and after the waiting, the road had to be swept to quicken the drying process, and only then could we resume the road rehabilitation.
The rains definitely brought a challenge in sticking to the schedule, something we didn’t expect entirely.
Making the deadline
Yet, despite the challenges, we completed the project on schedule. This was possible because of good planning, professionalism on the field and access to the right equipment. We used large milling machines that increased the pace of the road rehabilitation. This was more time-efficient than utilizing smaller milling machines.
So, if you are driving through Michigan Street in Devon, you won’t find any bumps soon!
Image Source: https://www.stpaul.gov