ROADS? WE NEED ROADS WHERE WE’RE GOING | ROAD MAINTENANCE
A crucial part of our nation’s infrastructure revolves around roads. Whether commuting or transporting goods or services, we simply need them. As with anything, they wear out over time, especially with the sheer amount of use and abuse they experience daily. Factor into the normal wear and tear, the weather component. In the winter most of the US gets blanketed in snow, prompting snow management crews to hop in their large snow plow trucks and take to the roads and clear them, usually salting them while they’re at it. We think you see what we’re getting at this. Roads deteriorate over time and require relatively constant maintenance and repair.
There’s a several types of road construction you’ll see while you’re out and about exploring this wonderful world of ours. We’ll keep it simple and just talk about the major ones that come to mind. We won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of ALL of the things that happen, otherwise we’ll be here all day and you’ve got stuff to do.
First, we’ve got reactive maintenance. That pretty much covers everything from filling potholes, cutting out sections of seriously damaged roads and repaving a fresh section, and simply filling in the cracks on the road with tar to keep them from spreading. These sort of things typically aren’t known about it until the public reports the problem or a public works worker happens to see it and gets the ball rolling.
Next, we’ve got repaving operations. This beast of a job requires a full lane of traffic to be shut down (and sometimes rerouted to the shoulder, if possible), a milling crew to come out and grind up about an inch or so of the road’s surface, a crew to clean up the milled debris that is left over, then the extensive repaving operation is completed, and, finally, the lines are painted. Woo, that was a long sentence, sorry ’bout that! But you get the idea, there’s a lot to get done and there’s only so much time in the day so for long stretches of road, this may cause a repaving project to take weeks or even months to complete. But woooo, when those cones are removed and that new stretch of freshly painted asphalt opens, people are almost always pleased with the end result. And there really is nothing like riding a motorcycle or driving a car on a freshly paved highway. So smooth. So quiet.
Let’s step back towards the pavement milling portion of this process. Grinding up the surface of the road allows the crews to start with a “clean slate” and a uniformly graded surface, ensuring a more consistent roadway is produced after the project. Now, while milling, the ground up asphalt/concrete gets transported up a conveyor system and either into a dump truck that’s driving slowly in front of the miller or the conveyor is angled off to the side, leaving its debris on the side of the road or work area. Both methods require cleanup to occur after the process is complete or during the operation. Cleaning the milled road is particularly crucial if that portion of the road will be opened while the other side of the road is milled. If cars and motorcycles are going to drive on a milled road, they HAVE to be cleared of as much loose gravel as possible, from a safety and liability perspective. The best way to go about this is to use a street sweeper. To make this operation as simple as possible, you can have a Schwarze M6 Avalanche Street Sweeper follow behind the milling machine and dump truck. Being a High-Side-Dump street sweeper, once it’s full, you can pull up alongside the dump truck and empty the hopper into the dump bed, then resume sweeping. Or, if you’re sweeping while there’s no available dump truck, you can take it to the designated dumping zone to take care of this. The M4HSD can travel at highway speeds so you can do this quickly and efficiently.
Using a street sweeper simply keeps this repaving operation moving. For one, it’s a much faster and more effective cleaning method than using an angle-broom system. Literally, one pass and you’ve swept up the debris and secured it into the on-board hopper system– making this stretch usable almost immediately, if that’s what the plan entails.