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Reusing Broken Concrete

Concrete WalkwayRecycling your concrete can be a great way to re-purpose old parking lots or driveways, without needing to invest in a brand new paving project for something new. The process works by taking out what is currently installed by breaking it up into small pieces. The concrete, or asphalt, is then taken to a different part of your property in order for it to be used in a variety of ways. Any excess broken concrete is then hauled away, leaving you with a useful feature, at a much lower cost than new construction.

Importance of Recycling Concrete

Broken concrete, especially the amount that would come from a large business’ parking lot, needs to go somewhere after it has been removed. You will be charged a fairly high fee for the old concrete to be hauled away, especially since it will take several trips with very large trucks to remove all of it. By recycling your broken concrete, you will save yourself the money on the haul-away fee, and possibly add to the value of your property.

Uses for Broken Concrete

A few of the more common uses for broken concrete include:

  • Making walkways
  • Building retaining walls
  • Decoration
  • Controlling erosion
  • Walkways are a great use for old concrete, since they do not need to stand up to extremely heavy loads like a driveway or parking lot. Building a walkway around a commercial building, apartment complex, or home is relatively simple, and you do not have to pay for new concrete to be poured, or wait for it to set.

    Constructing a retaining wall out of broken concrete is a great way to save money on the materials needed to build the wall, and it can give it a rustic look that is not easily achievable with fresh concrete. Depending on the size of the retaining wall, it may end up using all of your available concrete, and then some, meaning you do not have to worry about having the rest of it hauled away.

    Broken concrete can be used to make inlaid decorations outside in a patio area, in your landscaping, or other space that could use a new look. The decorative piece can be in nearly any sort of pattern that you want, and all that limits the size is how much space you have available.

    Erosion control has been a big use for broken concrete for many years, though technology does make it a little easier to build shore walls, it can be prohibitively expensive to have a company build an erosion control wall for just a small lake or pond. By using broken concrete, you can prevent a pond from becoming filled with sediment by just dropping the pieces around most of the shoreline. The effect of wave action is greatly diminished, keeping the depth and area of the pond intact.

    How Dykes Paving is Committed to Recycling

    Dykes Paving constantly tries to show its customers in and around Atlanta, Georgia that reducing waste is not only good for the environment, but good for your checkbook. We recycle asphalt, concrete, and even roofing shingles, in order to keep costs low, help you get LEED credits, and keep our landfill footprint as small as possible. Recycling helps both us, and the consumer, save both time, and money.

    There is really no drawback to reusing your broken concrete when you have the opportunity. It allows you to save money by dropping the haul away expense of new construction, it shows your customers you care about recycling, and you can improve your property at a fraction of the price of building new.

    asphaltEveryone today knows what asphalt is: the black material that paves roads, parking lots, and driveways all over the world. Yet, the origin and composition of asphalt concrete is more elusive to the average person. Understanding the origin and composition of asphalt concrete can help you determine the best type of asphalt concrete to lie in your driveway to maximize its longevity.

    To understand the origins of asphalt concrete, one has to go all the way back to the 6th century BC in Babylonia where the first asphalt roads were laid. It was not until the 18th century, however, that asphalt roads first began to become more widely used and tested for reliability, durability, and firmness. This revolution in asphalt mixtures and widespread applications began in Great Britain.

    The earliest forms of asphalt were built using a combination of stone, gravel, and various unearthed road-making materials. These early builders not only devised the first of many variant compositions of asphalt concrete, but also discovered ways to allow for proper water drainage and calculated the gradient and type of traffic that would travel on it to create firmer roads.

    Asphalt’s American Debut

    In the U.S., the first asphalt road was built in New Jersey in 1870 by Belgian chemist Edmund DeSmedt who had immigrated to the United States. His work would also lay the foundation for the paved roads on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. These early asphalt constructions were made with natural asphalt. The D.C. asphalt only lasted about eleven years before it began to deteriorate.

    Since the primary sources of traffic were pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages, the use of stones and gravel overlaid by asphalt were sufficient for the time. It was not until the advent of the automobile that the weight and volume of traffic made these early stony asphalt mixtures obsolete. What followed was nearly a century of innovation and experimentation with different asphalt composite mixtures.

    Innovations in Asphalt

    Sand was one of the first additives combined with asphalt in the early iterations of modern day road pavement in the U.S. By the early 20th century, petroleum became the most widely used asphalt mixture over stones and natural asphalt. Though sand, water, and petroleum binding agents are still used to this day, many asphalt composite variations continued to increase durability and sustainability.

    Today, the type of asphalt concrete that is used to build highways, buildings, and airport runways differs according to the weight of the traffic and the type of wear and tear that is anticipated. Some asphalt concrete is designed with mixtures that bear heavier loads, while others, such as highways, use variants of asphalt concrete that are more porous to allow for proper drainage. While concrete is used in some places to build firm walkways, most roads are made using asphalt concrete because it is less expensive, easier to maintain, and much more versatile than concrete is.

    Paving companies, such as Dykes Paving in Atlanta, are continuing the long evolution of asphalt by devising innovative ways to improve the sustainability of asphalt concrete.

    Pavement Milling

    Pavement milling, also known as cold planing, is a process that removes part of a paved surface, such as a parking lot or road. Milling can remove just the surface of the pavement, or anywhere up to the entire depth, referred to as full depth removal. There are many reasons to mill a paved area, including leveling a paved surface or repairing damage that the pavement has incurred.

    How It Works

    Pavement milling is achieved using a heavy-duty piece of construction equipment known as a milling machine, or a cold planer. Milling machines utilize a large, rotating drum that removes and grinds the surface of the asphalt. Scrolls of tool holders cover the exterior of the drum and hold the carbide cutters that actually cut the pavement.

    The carbide cutters are positioned in such a way that after being cut, the pavement is automatically moved to the center of the drum. The pavement is then loaded onto a conveyor belt attached to the milling machine. Most modern machines use a front-loading conveyor system that also picks up any pavement that falls off the conveyor during milling.

    Water is generally applied to the drum while milling, which helps to reduce the extreme heat produced by the machine, as well as minimize any airborne dust caused by milling.

    Micro Milling

    Micro milling is a special kind of asphalt milling. Micro milling uses a unique drum with several times as many cutting teeth as a regular milling drum. These cutting tools are packed close enough together to produce a relatively smooth road surface—unlike regular milling drums that create deep ridges in milled areas—that may be used as the final result, though a thin overlay is sometimes still applied on top.

    Micro milling can solve many of the same problems that regular milling is used for, though usually to a shallower depth.

    Uses for Pavement Milling

    Pavement milling has many uses. One of the main reasons to mill asphalt is to recycle the road surface, which is then ground up and used as aggregate in fresh pavement. This has a very positive environmental impact, preventing additional resources from being used for creating entirely new asphalt from scratch.

    Some other issues that milling can help with are uneven and bumpy paved surfaces, damage from accidents and fires, as well as the binder or aggregate—components that are used to make asphalt—becoming separated from one another and compromising the road’s surface.

    Pavement milling is also used to create rumble strips. This is a particularly useful method of creating rumble strips, as they can be added even to pre-existing roads and surfaces.

    Dykes Paving Can Help You

    Whatever the reason that you are considering milling your pavement, Dykes Paving is happy to help you complete your milling job. We are proud to offer the latest recycling processes, and pavement milling is no exception. There is no job we can’t handle, so give us a call today and see what we can do!

    SinkholeSinkholes are being recorded with increasing frequency, so people have begun to wonder is this because of more reporting, or something else. Sinkholes caused by aging infrastructure are common. If this happens to your road surface, Dykes Paving has the experience to rehabilitate your road. However, geological reasons are also a factor in many places, including Georgia.

    What are Sinkholes?

    A sinkhole is simply a hole that opens up in the ground and is caused by erosion and the movement of water. Natural sinkholes often occur when rainwater seeps into soluble bedrock. Chalk, sandstone, gypsum salt or carbonate rocks such as limestone are among the soluble rocks prone to dissolving over time when water seeps into them. This process can take a very long time naturally.

    As a natural process continues, the top layer of soil and sand above slowly falls into cracks and voids created by the dissolving soluble rock underneath. This process creates a sinkhole that is technically termed a cover-subsidence sinkhole. The amount of time the top layer of earth and any man-made structures on top of it will last depends on how thick and sturdy the top layer is, and how close this void is to the surface. However, as a hole continues to grow, eventually the surface layer will collapse into it.

    Sinkholes can be large or small. Both natural conditions and human activity together can cause some sinkholes. Other sinkholes may be caused solely by human activity (as in the case of aging infrastructure); and other sinkholes may simply be due to natural conditions.

    Geological Reasons for Sinkholes – Why Florida and Georgia have Bigger Problems than Other States

    Some areas are more prone to sinkholes for geological reasons. Florida and Georgia are particularly prone to sinkholes. A paper by Clint Kromhout identified why Florida is particularly prone to sinkholes. The geologist, working in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, identified in “What’s Up with All the Sinkholes?” how both manmade and geological factors combine in Florida.

    The basic difference in Florida is that its territory is composed of carbonate rocks (dolostone and limestone) covered by mixtures of sand and clay. Carbonate rocks store groundwater and due to a chemical process they are prone to slowly dissolving over time. The result is a host of surface depressions common to Florida. One type of such a surface depression is a sinkhole.

    As the population grows in the states, the likelihood of more sinkholes may increase. In Georgia, naturally occurring sinkholes are caused by two different reasons. Some parts of northern Georgia and in southern Georgia soluble rock causes sinkholes. Georgia is also a stretch zone state. Stretch zones in US states exist because of stresses put on the North American tectonic plate. In stretch zones, rocks are pulled apart.

    It is likely the sinkhole in your area was created by tectonic activity, geological issues, or a man made problem. Generally, people in Georgia are lucky their sinkholes are usually not as deep as those occurring in Florida. No matter what the immediate source of the problem, call the paving experts at Dykes Paving when you need to repave the area disturbed by the sinkhole.

    Melting RoadsWith increasing frequency, drivers on paved roads are encountering a comically peculiar dilemma; the roads are melting right under their wheels.

    The road may not necessarily transform suddenly into an undulating sea of tar, but high temperatures, coupled with the friction produced by a high volume of fast-moving rubber tires, can contribute to a very unstable and unpredictable scenario for the unsuspecting motorist.

    And, though the visual of a melting road may seem like something straight out of a cartoon, it is no laughing matter for drivers! High temperatures can compromise the road’s surface. Depending on the amount of traffic on the road, ruts and ridges can soon develop, making it difficult for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles.

    Different Stuff for Different Roads

    Generally speaking, asphalt is built to withstand a wide range of weather conditions; however, different types of asphalt are able (or unable, in the case of melting asphalt) to endure and withstand different temperatures.

    The surface temperature of an oft-traveled road can be, on average, about 20 degrees higher than the temperature of the air. This means that it doesn’t take much, especially in hotter climates, for the road to become compromised.

    Lower-grade asphalt, which is usually a mix of asphalt and concrete, is more likely to succumb to the heat and begin to liquefy in the 120-125 degree range; at the other end of the spectrum, higher-grade asphalt tends to withstand the heat better, though it is more susceptible to crack during the winter months.

    Besides cost (the higher grade being more expensive), the difference-maker in the different grades of asphalt lies in the amount of bitumen binder used. The more bitumen binder used, the more resistant to heat the asphalt becomes.

    Theoretically, the higher cost for higher-grade asphalt could lead a municipality to reserve the higher-priced material for only its most intensely trafficked roads.

    What Can You Do As A Driver?

    As a driver, perhaps outside of contacting your Department of Transportation when and if problems arise, there’s not much you can do directly to stop the problem of melting roads. Generally speaking, however, your speed affects your tires’ friction on the road surface, so you and other drivers can contribute positively by driving at or below the speed limit.

    The problem of melting asphalt on roads is no surprise to experts in the paving industry, especially since the same phenomenon can occur on virtually any surface paved with asphalt; for example: parking lots and driveways.

    You’re not responsible for the integrity of the road running past your home or business, but you would definitely want to enlist the expertise of a paving company if you’re considering surfacing or repairing a paved area on your property, especially to avoid a situation like the one you would see on a melted road!

    Contact a paving professional from Dykes today for more information on the right solution for your home or business.

    Archaeological Discoveries In RoadsWhen digging up and re-doing roads or highways, most expect to find nothing more than just cement. But every now and then, road workers uncover surprising archaeological finds. From log roads at least a century old to old graves to tools that tell of past lifestyles, all of these things and more have been uncovered by road workers while doing working their job.

    What Happens When Archaeological Discoveries Are Made During Road Work?

    When artifacts or ruins are found during road work, usually the nearest archaeologists are contacted and asked to review what has been found. When there are few artifacts, they are set aside and saved for the coming archaeologists. But for a whole ruin or grave site (which does happen) roadwork could be stalled to make way for excavation.

    Sometimes, road workers find a way to work around the ruin, so that archaeologists can excavate and do their work at the same time. Eventually though, road work does have to continue into the area, therefore archaeologists are work hard and excavate diligently.

    Paving the Way for America

    In 2005, road workers redoing part of U.S. route 80 in Bloomingdale, GA uncovered an old log road just four feet below the asphalt. This road is possibly dated all the way back to the Civil War or as late as the 1920s. Either way this road had a lot of history, as it is almost a hundred years old.

    Some also might wonder what the big deal is about an old road, but think about it. These roads paved the way for modern day USA – literally paved! Without these roads, travel would have been more difficult in addition to the communication between towns and cities. At some point these roads were probably the only way to travel from town to town.

    An Insight into Native American Culture

    During road work in the U.S. last year, hundreds of Native American artifacts were found. One great find in St. George, UT is an ancient ruin that once belonged to the Shivwits tribe. There archaeologists found Anasazi pit houses, pottery, arrowheads, dinosaur fossils, and other tools they used for everyday life.

    Uncovering a Roman-era Burial Site and Farmland

    The U.K. has also had their share of roadwork artifacts. In the county of Yorkshire, road workers uncovered a Roman-era (possibly even before that) burial site. This burial site was over 2000 years old and had the only complete chariot ever found in the U.K. Despite the wear and tear on the chariot, archaeologists were able to use it and understand its functions.

    In addition, within multiple areas around the U.K., road workers have uncovered pottery, farm tools, and various other items that describe life in the Roman-era farmland. The remains and bones found at various road work sites have told archaeologists about common causes of death during the era they came from and about ritualistic burial practices of the past.

    You Never Know What History Will Be Found

    The next time road work is happening in your area, tune into your local news or read your newspaper to see if anything has been discovered. You never know, as there could be history under the very ground you’re standing on!

    Musical roads have existed for years in Asian countries. Only recently did they become known in the United States. Below are some interesting facts you may not know about this asphalt phenomenon.

    It Is Commercialized: Honda made the first commercial featuring a musical road. The road played an excerpt of the William Tell Overture. The asphalt spacing was incorrect, so the song was completely out of tune. Some even say it was unrecognizable. Listen and judge for yourself.

    It Relies on Vibrations: The sound created from driving on a musical road is the result of wheel vibrations. It causes an audible rumbling transmitted by the wheels into the car’s interior. For a real-life example of the impact wheel vibrations have on sound, get in your car and start driving. When you start to drive over a bumpy road, sing aloud. Just hold a solid tone, like an open-mouthed hum. You will notice a difference in tones.

    Sign for a musical road in Japan

    Sign for a musical road in Japan

    Different Locations Exist: Musical roads were first constructed in Japan. This country has the largest number of these specialized roads, a total of 12. Other countries with musical roads include the United States, Denmark and South Korea.

    They are Safety Mechanisms: A musical road keeps drivers alert. Many drivers have a tendency to become bored, inattentive, and sometimes drift off while driving. When a driver is on a musical road, a special sound is emitted as soon as the vehicle veers to the side. It instantly awakes the driver. This prevents many accidents and injuries to the driver, passengers and surrounding drivers.

    Perfect Pitch Does Not Exist: Even though a musical road is designed to play a musical tune, sound quality is not a main concern. You may recognize the melody, but many times the sound is too distorted to provide any pleasurable experience. The tune sounds off-key. This will probably change for the better as technology advances.

    Speed Does Matter: A musical road, also known as a singing road, is developed with a certain speed in mind. Usually that speed is the stated speed limit. When a car drives over or under the specified speed, the musical road sounds different from what is expected.

    For a comparison, think of a vinyl record. That record was designed to play at a certain speed such as 78, 45 or 33. Play the record at a different speed, and you will receive a distorted sound.

    Spacing Makes a Difference:The space of the asphalt road ridges makes a difference in the sound. According to development experts, the farther apart the grooves or ridges are, the lower the octave. Conversely, the closer together the grooves or ridges, the higher the octave will be.

    The First Song Is the Easiest: The first song ever heard on a musical road is the all-time classic, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” That’s the same song Thomas Edison used when inventing his phonograph.

    Knowledge never hurts anyone. As a paving expert, Dykes Paving loves sharing asphalt-related news like the above.

    oil-stain-64409_6401

    First impressions are everything in business, and having the exterior of your building looking unpleasant, and perhaps even presenting a health hazard, is sure to deter potential customers and clients from wanting to enter your store, shop, or office.

    Oil stained asphalt is an eyesore, and is also dangerously slippery during the sub-zero, snowy winter months. As common as oil leaks are, however, there really is no reason for having oil stained patches of asphalt in the parking lot of your business. This is a problem that has many practical solutions depending on the extent of the damage. Here is a list of some of the possible remedies:

    Kitty litter—clumping kitty litter is made up of quartz, bentonite, silica, and other highly absorbent materials. If you have a fresh oil spill that’s still wet (kitty litter’s no good on an already dried up, set-in stain), cover the wet oil with kitty litter and stamp it down in such a way that it soaks up the oil. Then, leave it to sit overnight. Lastly, come back the next morning and sweep it up. Some hot water, detergent, and good old-fashioned elbow grease should be sufficient to finish up the rest of the job. Furthermore, you must dispose of the oil-impregnated kitty litter responsibly. Under no circumstances should you flush this highly toxic material down the drain.
    Baking Soda—for recent stains you might want to try damping the damaged area with a cloth, sprinkling baking soda over it, and letting it loosen and separate the stain. Afterwards you’re going to want to have a go at it with a hard bristled scrub brush.
    Oil Clean-up Compound—for really large spills you might want to try one of the many specialized oil cleanup compounds that are available at most automotive shops and hardware stores. This type of compound is a highly absorbent powder, and a single pound can easily sponge up an entire gallon of motor oil, paint or other viscous liquids. Keep in mind that like the kitty litter fix, oil cleanup compound only works on fresh spills that are still in liquid form.

    Any one of these options should do the trick if it’s a brand new spill or very recent stain. However, if your property is suffering from extensive damages to asphalt from oil and other substances, or the discolored areas have been there for a while, it’s time to hire a contractor from Dykes who specializes in asphalt replacement and sealcoating. Contact us today for help.

     

    dykes-archaeology-newWhat images come to your mind when someone mentions archaeology? Chances are, you’re picturing Indiana Jones adventuring through the jungles of South America or Howard Carter opening King Tutankhamen’s ancient Egyptian tomb. But this isn’t just a study of ancient cultures. According to the Society for American Archaeology, archaeology is “the study of the ancient and recent human past through material remains.”

    The Series

    Photographer Mike Mission’s new photo series, titled “Asphalt Archaeology” explores the recent archaeology of New York City through everyday objects found embedded in asphalt.

    These photographs don’t show the ancient artifacts most people have come to expect from archaeological expeditions. Looking at Mission’s photo series, there are no mummies, bones, arrowheads, or broken pieces of pottery. Instead, there are bits of metal half embedded in the asphalt.

    These urban artifacts are strange to see, strewn randomly on the street and completely without context. The objects that have been lost and eventually implanted in the asphalt of New York City are sometimes surprising. Among other things, Mission has photographed an entire padlock with nothing visibly broken about it, a long drill bit, and a set of keys. It’s an interesting testament to our fast-paced culture that people could lose these things and then walk over them day by day, until the pieces of metal have become part of the street around them.

    Clues of the Past

    This is urban archaeology–looking in cities to find clues about our past. By digging through-or under-more modern structures, urban archaeologists can reach the artifacts of people from previous centuries. This refuse can tell us a lot about how people in each city and neighborhood used to live. From food scraps to toys and furniture: What people were eating, buying, and using is telling of the lifestyle they had, and of their financial situation.

    Looking Down

    Unlike many urban archaeologists, Mission didn’t need to dig through New York’s streets in order to find artifacts-all he had to do was look down. Objects from the recent past can be found throughout the city’s streets, embedded in asphalt and forgotten.

    The broken drill bit suggests a construction project, though there’s no way to tell if it was a personal project or a city sponsored job. The lost keys evoke the image of a hurried businessman, too rushed to realize that his keychain has fallen from his pocket. Mission’s photographs illustrate New York’s recent past by showing us how the people of the city are living.

    This is a type of urban archaeology that can be practiced by anyone-photographer, archaeologist, or random passerby. Keep that in mind the next time you’re walking down an Atlanta street, be sure to look down. As Mike Mission has discovered, you never know what you’ll see.

    Fatigue or Alligator Cracking in Asphalt

    Fatigue or Alligator Cracking in Asphalt

    There is a reason why roads expected to carry heavy loads and more volume are designed differently from roads meant for less volume or traffic. This is because over time, stress will cause what is known as fatigue, or alligator, cracking. This type of cracking is just one of several types of pavement failure that occur for a variety of reasons.


    Fatigue or alligator cracking in asphalt appears as a series of linked cracks that produce irregularly shaped pieces of pavement. It derives its animal-inspired description from the fact that its pattern is similar to an alligator’s skin. This pattern normally appears in later stages of fatigue conditions. Repairing this condition depends on the severity and the extent of the area affected by the problem.


    Three Types of Fatigue Cracking


    Roads with fatigue cracking in asphalt show three types of deterioration. The Distress Identification Manual for the Federal Highway Administration’s Long-Term Pavement Performance Program discusses this in more detail. This type of deterioration is identified separately as low, moderate and high severity levels of such stress.


    • Low Severity – This type of stress has few or no interlinked cracks. The cracks haven’t made the material fragment or chip off when there is a low level of severity. There is no evidence of base materials being pumped out of the cracks.
    • Moderate Severity – When this happens, the interconnected cracks form a complete design that resembles an alligator’s skin. The cracks may cause some fragmenting of the material, but there is no pumping of base material. Crack seal applications should be done carefully, as traffic safety can be a problem during warm or wet conditions.
    • High Severity – In this case, which is a degree worse than moderate level, the fragmented pieces move under traffic and there may be pumping of base material.


    In less deep asphalt roads, this deterioration is believed to be due to problems in the base layers. If there is poor drainage, the problem worsens more quickly. Water penetrates to the base layer in various ways. Water can seep through the cracks, groundwater can rise upwards from below, standing water can seep below, and exposed pavement edges can allow penetration.


    This is why during spring, when the base material is softer because of water saturation, this problem is more common. Heavy traffic and loads should be restricted on weaker roads in the spring. A simple overlay of asphalt without addressing the base weakness will also lead to a return of the problem.


    Treatment Methods Vary


    When the problem is a low level of severity, sealing is the more common remedy. If there is a moderate problem, the solution is to remove and replace the base layer in the affected area. If the problem is more severe, and it is over a large area, reconstruction is the more likely solution.


    Preventive Maintenance is a Cheaper Remedy


    In an era when road maintenance is under financial stress, it is cheaper to keep the roads in good shape rather than fix them after the asphalt has failed. Important elements for roads in good shape are good materials and proper design at the start. Preventive maintenance should be stepped up as a road ages to avoid the cost of more extensive structural repairs.


    Whether you call it asphalt, pavement, blacktop, tarmac, or concrete, it traverses the US so that we can do the same. But where did this sticky, resilient matter come from, and how did we come to pave our formerly dirt roads with it?

    The first asphalt was mixed as early as 1870 and laid by Belgian chemist Edmund J. Desmedt in front of City Hall in New Jersey. He also paved Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, right near the Capitol. The first mixture used sand, and the second was based on a more sophisticated mixture from Pitch Lake on the island of Trinidad. Hardy and resilient, this latter mixture was used for many years. Shortly thereafter, the first Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) company opened and filed patents in Brooklyn, New York.

    In 1901, the first modern asphalt was developed and patented by Frederick J. Warren. By this time, many other people and companies were competing with each other over the latest patents for asphalt mixes. The competition allowed cities to require higher standards of effectiveness and safety for their mixes, including adding warranties, which bankrupted some companies but spurred quick improvements.

    Bringing a New Recipe into the Mix

    The latest recipes for asphalt included refined petroleum, which was smoother and easier to lay. Then, in 1908, Henry Ford introduced his motor vehicle breakthrough: the Model T car. This was the first relatively affordable motor vehicle, and as it was mass-produced, the demand for high-quality, durable roads grew exponentially across the US. It also spurred government involvement. “Get the farmers out of the mud!” became a national cry for advancement.

    early-highway

    Congress responded by passing the Federal-Aid Road Act of 1916 and creating the Federal-Aid Highway Program to disperse funding for construction and improvements. The program took off after World War I, when the Federal Highway Act of 1921 was introduced, and technology improved our abilities to lay roads quickly and efficiently with mechanical mixers and spreaders.

    During World War II, the need for paved roads became dire as the US Military required more and better runways for our Air Force. In 1956, Congress passed the Interstate Highways Act, as families moved away from cities and into the suburbs, where they needed better means of transportation. Under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the interstate highway program finally took shape.

    The US Department of Transportation was Born

    By 1966, demand for roads and for proper legislation and governance prompted the formation of the US Department of Transportation. The Federal Highway Administration was one of the major offices in this department. This was also a time of increased environmental concerns, and asphalt actually became one of America’s most recycled materials.

    Today we continue to improve our roads, asphalt mixtures, and application technologies to be safer and more efficient. The official name for our highway system is the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. It’s a mouthful of a name, and one of the greatest and most influential technological advances in the history of our country.

    Image source:  www.iowadot.gov/virtual_museum/artifacts/OriginLincolnHighway.html

    home_ptsp_006

    Imagine driving down a well-illuminated road at night without the assistance of conventional streetlights. The road seems to glow in the dark on its own, making night time driving clearer and safer. This is possible with a new technology called ‘Starpath’, which its developers say offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to night time driving.

    Starpath is a spray-on, water-resistant coating that absorbs light during the day and releases it at night. It works as a solar panel, allowing the road to glow at an adequate intensity for drivers. The Starpath product also contains an anti-slip material, which can help vehicles avoid collisions.

    A Quick Roadway Fix?

    One of the benefits of this technology is how rapidly it can be applied. According to Pro-Teq, a UK-based provider of spray-on surfacing materials that developed the product, Starpath can be applied to an area of about 1,500 square feet in just 30 minutes. The surface is ready to use four hours later. Pro-Teq is a manufacturer of playground surfaces, so not surprisingly, they offer the spray in eleven colors.  Different colors could be used to create bike or bus lanes or delineate parking areas with different colors.

    Starpath may be a very attractive option for the environment It could potentially eliminate thousands of conventional streetlamps along highways or in neighborhoods. Ideally, the savings would outweigh the initial investment of implementing the product.

    Does It Actually Work?

    There are some concerns that this technology would not be nearly as effective in the winter, when there is not only less sunlight, but snow blocking the surface from receiving adequate light. In this case, there could be a dangerous scenario if traditional streetlights had been eliminated. But Starpath has had a successful trial along pathways in a park in Cambridge, UK.  With its success, the city council is considering using it on other pathways in the city.  Whether our future roads are all coated in glowing, colorful Starpath technology remains to be seen, but the idea of a roadway that is both sustainable and safe at night is appealing to both the public and local governments — and almost as attractive as the idea of glowing, rainbow roadways.

    Image: www.pro-teqsurfacing.com/home.html