How Technology Has Changed the Way We Pave

March 20, 2021

To the outside observer, it might not seem like there’s a whole lot that changes over time in the world of asphalt paving. In fact, there has undeniably been a significant advancement in paving technology over the years that has made the job much easier and more efficient and has created better results for paving clients of all types.

Here are just some of the ways in which technology has improved over the years for paving contractors in FairfaxCounty, VA.

Site preparation

Before any work can be done with actual asphalt, crews need to make sure the site has been appropriately prepared. In the past, contractors would have to look through a sight glass to establish the proper grade. They would use a plumb bob and the contractor would look through the sight glass (or transit) to find the target that helped them establish grade.

Today’s site preparation involves laser-guided transit systems that makes it significantly easier for paving teams to determine heights even across long distances. This in turn makes it easier for contractors to determine slope and grade for better project accuracy and drainage.

Asphalt removal

The removal of old asphalt is a crucial part of any paving job. The old method was to use a walk-behind road saw with a large diamond blade. But now, hydraulic technology allows paving contractors in Fairfax County,VA to cut thick trenches quickly in old asphalt, saving time and money.

Evaluation of the sub base

Before contractors lay down new asphalt pavement, they must test the sub base to make sure it will provide sufficient support for an extended period of time.

The old method was simply to lay the sub base and compact it, and there wouldn’t necessarily be any testing. Advancements in technology have made it easier to test the integrity of the sub base with a proof roll and nuclear density testing. The proof roll method involves running the 72,000-pound truck over the surface to find spots where the sub base flexes by more than an inch. Nuclear density testing focuses on the density of the material in the pavement, with the goal of ensuring it is at least 99 percent. Using these testing methods in conjunction with each other ensures better overall results.

Undercutting repair

When repairing compromised parts of the sub base, undercutting is a method that can help repair single areas in a larger asphalt surface. The old method was to dig down several feet and then refill with stone and aggregate to replenish the support materials.

The newer, advanced method of paving involves a use of geo-grid or fabric, which means you only need to dig about 18 inches down to make repairs, and can use that geo-grid as a bridge to provide support without having to fill in nearly as much space. This saves a lot of time and money when making repairs, and produces better results.

For more information about advancements in paving technology that affect work for today’s paving contractors in Fairfax County,VA contact the team at Paveco Inc.

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