by Brian Pike, General Manager, Rocky Mountain Pavement Maintenance, Inc.
(as appeared in Colorado Real Estate Journal)
After one of Denver’s most severe winters in years, potholes are everywhere. The abundance of snow, which covered the Denver metro area from mid-December through February, has created a perfect scenario for the development of potholes.
Moisture, from the snow, penetrates into the cracks in the asphalt and works its way into the subgrade beneath. Then, when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, the moisture freezes, causing it to expand and create a heaving or buckling effect to the asphalt. As the freeze-thaw cycle continues, the damage to the asphalt increases. Any of us who drive our area roadways sees the effects of this damage every day.
Compounding the problem of needed asphalt repairs are the rising cost of oil and the use of maintenance budgets on snow removal. The Denver area has seen the cost of a ton of asphalt increase more than 30% in the last two years. Property owners and managers, who already have spent a fortune on snow removal, now are faced with repairing their winter-damaged asphalt.
So where do we go from here? Well, don’t ignore the potholes, as they will only get worse. A cost-effective method for repairing potholes is the infrared patching process. As opposed to just filling potholes with asphalt, using the infrared technology to heat the area of repair and then installing new asphalt provides a seamless patch with a much longer life expectancy than the old method of “tack and fill.”
Another recommended maintenance activity that can prolong the life of your paved surfaces is crack sealing. Sealing cracks in asphalt surfaces is the first line of defense against moisture-related damage. Sealing cracks on an annual basis can save a considerable amount of damage and money in the long run.
The bottom line is preventive maintenance is money well spent. If cracks and potholes are neglected, it is certain, as this winter revealed, the damage and repair costs will increase substantially.
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