Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A few tips for understanding construction lingo

Hot summer days can only mean one thing at KDOT: road construction season is in full swing.

The KDOT construction season generally runs from March to November, when the weather is most favorable for road work. With a full slate of projects planned for 2015, crews are busy repairing, reconstructing and restoring roadways this season across the Sunflower State.

Most KDOT projects focus on preservation of the current road surface and range from light resurfacing to full reconstruction. The most common construction activities include:

Chip seals: As the name implies, chip seals involve spreading asphalt on the current road surface, followed by a layer of chipped rock that is compacted into place by heavy rollers.

Crack seals: Excessive moisture and debris can damage pavement, so KDOT utilizes crack seals to provide a temporary fix to the roadway until it can be completely repaired. The premise is simple: workers fill cracks with an asphalt-like sealer to help smooth out the surface.

Mill and overlay: These comprise the majority of KDOT’s construction activities. First, a section of the roadway is ground, or milled, off and removed. It is then replaced with an asphalt overlay using some of the material that was milled off. Asphalt is the most commonly recycled product in the United States and what isn’t recycled during construction is often used on other projects.

Surface recycle: Here’s another example of asphalt recycling. A truck-mounted heater softens and removes the top layer of pavement, which is then mixed with a rejuvenating agent and reapplied – all in one pass. Finally, the recycled pavement is topped with a thin asphalt overlay or chip seal to complete the project.

Next time you’re passing through a construction zone, remember this list and see if you can identify what kind of project is being done. And, as always, slow down and “Give ‘em a Brake!”


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