ROAD MAINTENANCE AND ROAD SAFETY
Specialised Road Maintenance (Pty) Ltd as the names states, are specialists in road maintenance and road safety.
It goes without saying that the two go hand in hand. Before any road maintenance is undertaken, a full assessment of the road conditions and surrounding area needs to be undertaken.
Once this has been established, the road safety protocol needs to be agreed upon and all safety plans need to be in accordance with the relevant roads authority guidelines.
Management at SRM (Pty) Ltd have extensive knowledge and experience within the fields of Road Safety and Road Maintenance. It is with this experience in mind that the company has packaged a comprehensive list of products to ensure that the contractor can procure the necessary equipment and products to deliver quality services, safely.
Why maintenance is important
Planned road maintenance is important because it sustains the quality and safety of the road in a condition close to the original design. It is also cheaper to regularly maintain a road, than to endure an ongoing cycle of un-managed deterioration and reconstruction. The South African National Road Agency Ltd. (SANRAL) estimates that repair costs can rise to six times maintenance costs after three years of neglect and to 18 times after five years of neglect.
Road maintenance costs can vary significantly depending particularly on:
- the type of road, surface and construction quality;
- how much it is used, particularly by heavy vehicles,
- organisational, logistical arrangements,
- technology choice for each operation,
- type and cost of works equipment and transport used,
- local labour and materials costs, and
- the quality and timeliness of current and previous maintenance.
Potholes have become a serious point of discussion over recent years, especially in relation to the increased traffic on highways and suburban roads. According to CSIR (The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), the main cause behind the pothole situation lies in a lack of adequate improvement in the preventative maintenance on a number of roads.
– Chemical spillages: diesel
– Mechanical damage: fires, accidents
– Rock fall
– Animal hooves on roads in warmer climates
– Inadequate road design (relates directly to the soil on which the roads are built)
The two main bituminous surfacing seals commonly used in South Africa can either be asphalt or thin bituminous surfacing seals
Potholes that develop in asphalt are formed in two ways: the more primary cause is from the cracking of the asphalt, often caused by the ageing or fatigue of the material and inadequate support of materials. This is indicative of the quality of materials used, what it consists of, as well as the exposure to excessive water.
A more secondary reason behind the formation of potholes revolves around environmental factors. This is typically the impact of the ultraviolet rays from the sun, extreme temperatures, oxidation or differential causes in relation to the weathering of the asphalt which may create cracks in the surface seal.
Potholes that form due to environmental and traffic conditions often occur as a crumbling of the asphalt surface seal and, on top of this, you’re likely to find a crack, which may enlarge with time. If cracks are repaired within a reasonable period, significant impairment to the pavement may be avoided. However, if it’s not repaired or rehabilitated but is left unattended, the crack’s susceptibility to water will result in more deterioration over time.
Heavy traffic loading may cause high road deflections. Deflections are a calculated measurement as to how the road is affected by the load it carries. Consistent high deflections and even the passing of overloaded vehicles is likely to lead to the cracking of the road, which will allow water to flow through these cracks. This will lead to further damages as it will result in the loosening of the structural layer works.
Thin bituminous surfacing seals
In most of the cases of pothole formation, damage starts from the top base. The material itself is said to be quite flexible and can withstand a substantial amount of pressure from heavy traffic loading before cracking. However, once cracking starts the access of water into the pavement is imminent and greater depths of the affected area can suffer the impact much quicker, resulting in gross deterioration of the roads.
Without the necessary preventative maintenance, surfaces are likely to crack. Roads that are well constructed, regularly maintained and have the required bituminous seals should not cause potholes. This is why the preservation of the seal is important as this restricts pothole formation.