A Rough Winter Brings Rougher Seasons Ahead for Pavers and Engineers

Following the winter thaw, pavers and engineers are attempting to fix potholes and other road issues, ensuring a better, and safer, driving experience. With this winter being one of the toughest many people have experienced in recent years, potholes and cracked pavement can be found on many roads.

Mitchell Frumkin, the president and founder of Kipcon, Inc., headquartered in North Brunswick, NJ, expressed to us how much engineers and pavers have to work to fix the roads from this past winter. “This year is a big year for paving because of the snow we had,” said Frumkin. “There are potholes everywhere and it has destroyed many pavements.”

Attacking these potholes is a main priority for many states that have been affected this winter. Putting down asphalt, which is the general pavement that is used, needs to be done as soon as possible to avoid any further damage in the roads. Asphalt pavement may be one of the most common pavements used, but it isn’t much different from many others, as Frumkin explains. In fact, longevity is more about the thickness of the pavement rather than the type. 

“Most roads have been built for the past 10 to 15 years with the adequate thickness for cars to drive on it. But you see expansion and contraction from weather conditions that make the damage accelerate,” said Frumkin. 

Frumkin also expressed how the weather conditions, in particular, are the causes for these potholes, and that this is a very specific concern for engineers focusing on maintaining the roads. 

“A typical issue, when it comes to paving, is cracking. There are many different types of cracks on the road. These [cracks] are damaging to the curbing. Those are all things that associations need to take advantage of with some kind of maintenance programs or repaving jobs just based on the age of paving,” said Frumkin. 

This past winter we have experienced a remarkable amount of snowfall that has affected many roads and sidewalks. The use of salt and sand assisted with the road and sidewalk conditions, helping to melt ice and keep vehicles from sliding. The salt itself does not affect the concrete, but the ice that the salt is melting does affect it. When the ice melts, the water goes into the cracks and then freezes over. Once it freezes over, the concrete begins to crack as time goes on, causing potholes to occur. 

 “The big thing you will find this year with the roads is that there is so much sand and salt on the roads, due to the weather, that sweeping of the roads is critical because you can leave these materials on the road for an extended period of time, and it will affect the pavement,” said Frumkin. “With salt, when it rains, the rain will carry it off the roads into the sewer system or just carry it away. With sand, it’s much harder for that to happen. The sand has to get swept away.”

However, when you are dealing with concrete, the salt can have a very bad effect and deteriorate the concrete. Luckily, there are companies that are specialized to do sweeping and roadwork sweeping.

These enormous potholes have affected many commuters. They have caused people to have to put their cars in the shop and have even caused some dreadful accidents. In New Jersey, there have been many reports of not only car accidents but motorcycle accidents as well. 

As for homeowner associations, it is not a bad idea to collaborate with engineer companies and to stay updated with your reserve studies. With a reserve study, an engineer can come out and repair all the cracks on the dates of the reserve schedule. 

“When it comes to the major projects, the only thing they should do is make sure that their reserve studies are funded because every reserve study covers the cost of repaving over a certain amount of years,” said Frumkin.

Not only can these HOAs check their reserve studies, but they can also make sure they have sealcoating in the budget. Sealcoating is something you put down on the pavement as a method of sealing it, and many HOAs have this within their budget.

“Some people feel that sealcoating doesn’t prolong the life of the pavement. In my opinion, sealcoating is something that should be done,” stated Frumkin. “It does seal the cracks so that the moisture doesn’t get through the pavement and cause problems like potholes.”

Many companies specialize in sealcoating as well. According to many people, sealcoating is great because it stops the pavement from deteriorating right when it is laid. Not only does sealcoating look good, but it does have a function that helps maintain the lives of the pavement and to minimize the damage when we have winters like this.

“The only thing is that sometimes you have different types of sealcoating that you use based on the slope on the road, not wanting it to be slippery, the sand involved, and other things, but it’s not really a difficult process,” said Frumkin. “Other than a parking lot that has a lot of corners in it. When you do paving, if you have a parking lot that is not a wide open space, it gets harder to repave or to sealcoat it because there are so many ins and outs in the parking area.”

The best time to look into sealcoating is prior to the winter, just to prevent any moisture from getting into cracks. Generally, this process is done in the fall, the spring, and, on some days, in the summer. However, the hotter it is, the harder the process will be. 

The only other issue with this is that people live in these communities. Then you are dealing with other issues, such as parking. Frumkin emphasized that there is a lot of coordination that gets involved with this. 

“When you do paving, the pavement has to be a certain temperature to be paved correctly,” said Frumkin. “If you have a good contractor, you have nothing to be worried about.”

After experiencing these challenging road conditions, many pavers will be looking for ways to avoid these issues next year. “Unfortunately, the weather changes every year,” stated Frumkin. “So its just a waiting game.”

By Russell Jenkins, an AssociationHelpNow staff writer

(Source: Association Help Now)

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