Tennessee is known for having one of the leading road systems across the nation. In fact, the National Asphalt Pavement Alliance has given TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) eight national awards for perpetual pavements. Media surveys show that Tennessee’s highway systems remain at the top of the list. It’s all due to the fact Tennessee relies on pavement preservation systems focused on preventative maintenance instead of reactive maintenance. According to the Department of Transportation, studies show that preventative maintenance is 6 to 10 times more cost effective than reactive treatments and repairs.
Tennessee is under growing pressure from increases in oil and construction materials, leading to a greater number of large trucks and semis on our roadways. Pavement overload is one of the most common reasons asphalt breaks down and experiences issues. That being said, traffic has nearly doubled from 40 years ago.
Solid Construction + Preventative Maintenance
It’s not just maintenance, roads should be constructed to withstand repetitive wear and tear from heavy trucks. Solid construction paired with preventative maintenance has allowed Tennessee to maintain such a high level of roadways. Reacting to problems as they pop up, aka reactive maintenance, leads to the development of larger problems that impact a road’s longevity.
An example of preventative maintenance is filling in cracks and sealcoating on a regular basis to prevent things like potholes and alligator cracks. Reactive maintenance involves fixing cracks after they grow larger or turn into potholes.
TDOT’s Pavement Management System aims to:
- Safeguard the structural integrity of pavement
- Maintain the pavement’s functional traits
- Reduce the speed of and fix pavement deterioration
- Slow down the development of and fix pavement surface deficiencies
Back in 2008, TDOT initiated a plan that involved directing each of its four regions to spend 10% of maintenance budgets on pavement preservation. In 2014, each region was required to spend 75% on Traditional Hot Mix Asphalt and 24% on Alternative Treatments and Pavement Preservation.
Cost of pavement preservation is going up. From 1986 to 1999, $80 million was spent on pavement preservation. Between 2000 and 2007, $85 million was spent; from 2008 to 2010, $100 million was spent; and in 2011, $120 million was spent.
Examples of preventative maintenance include:
- Applying sealcoat as needed
- Filling holes and cracks as they appear so that water and other substances don’t have a chance to get inside.
- Regularly cleaning surfaces to remove oil, gasoline, etc. Otherwise, if harsh chemicals like gasoline are left on asphalt it leads to rapid deterioration of sealcoat and underlying surfaces.
- Installing quality drainage systems to prevent water from pooling on asphalt surfaces.
4 Benefits of Preventative Maintenance for Asphalt
Pavement is our livelihood, we are around it day in and day out. Therefore, we know firsthand how beneficial preventative maintenance is. Asphalt starts to deteriorate as soon as it is applied, factors like rain, pollution, and sunlight speed up the deterioration. By taking steps towards preventative maintenance you’ll enjoy the following benefits:
1. Reduced Water Penetration
Sealcoating and filling in small cracks as they arise prevents water from penetrating surfaces and uprooting asphalt from the inside out.
2. Reduced Air Penetration
It also prevents air from penetrating through the surface, an oxidation process that reduces the lifespan of asphalt. Sealcoating closes surface pores and locks air out.
3. Reduces Corrosion
Sealcoating and frequently cleaning surfaces helps prevent the negative corrosive effects caused by gasoline and other common roadway pollutants.
4. Better Looking Asphalt
Over time, asphalt looks old and worn down but preventative maintenance keeps surfaces looking fresh for much longer. It also maintains that dark black coloring associated with asphalt.
Nice to Meet You, We’re Tennessee’s Asphalt Pros
Keeping up with preventative asphalt maintenance doesn’t have to keep you up at night. Kleenco Construction is trusted to tackle and maintain some of the largest projects in the industry. That’s because we know how to get projects finished right the first time around. Contact us today to learn more, ask questions, or get a free quote.