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With summer in full bloom, contractors are working incessantly to give our infrastructure a much needed makeover. As construction, maintenance and restoration leaves no part of a city untouched, engineers are examining cost-effective and high-quality ways to enhance roadway rehabilitation solutions. Many rely on geosynthetics as an economical, innovative and sustainable means to strengthen and optimize structures, ultimately increasing their lifespan.

Pavement optimization is proving to be the solution to rehabilitation impediments and maintenance needs. Utilizing geosynthetics within a pavement constructed over good or improved soils may mean reducing the asphalt layer thickness by 15 to 30 per cent and/or aggregate layer thickness by 25 to 50 per cent with the potential to improve its performance.

Building a solid foundation

The key to a sturdy, durable and long-lasting structure is a stable foundation. Suitable for projects ranging from low-volume, light-duty rural roads and car parks, to high-volume highways and heavy-duty industrial pavements, geosynthetics are a vital component of the building or rehabilitation process. Conventionally patching up roads may offer a quick fix, but it does not resolve the deeper rooted problem, resulting in a reoccurring need for more maintenance and, thus, costs.

Geosynthetics, such as geogrids, geotextiles and asphalt additives create a mechanically stabilized layer (MSL), resulting in a stiffer and more robust structure while optimizing pavement performance. Geogrids do so by promoting aggregate interlock and confinement, increasing bearing capacity and distributing load forces. Geotextiles are comprised of high quality polypropylene fibres, and their inclusion averts mixing of the different soils, while allowing for the free flow of water. This prevents soil movement in erosion control measures, and stabilizes road construction.

Staying current and evolving with innovative practices

As innovation continues to propel the construction industry to new heights, technologies are progressively evolving to include new solutions. Materials such as asphalt fibers are being added to produce Fiber Reinforced Asphalt Concrete (FRAC), addressing the two major distresses affecting asphalt performance – cracking and rutting. ACE Fiber – created by blending Aramid Fibers (also commonly known as the brand name Kevlar) and Sasobit® wax – is a ground-breaking, easy to use product making headway in road performance and preservation. When mixed with asphalt, it disperses over 18 million Aramid fibers throughout each ton of the mix, creating a three-dimensional reinforcement that increases the asphalt’s resistance to cracking, rutting and fatigue. In the summer, when asphalt overheats, the rooted Aramid Fibers offer resistance to the flow of asphalt to mitigate rutting. Come winter, when the cold causes the asphalt to shrink, Aramid provides added tensile strength for resistance to cracking. 

Cost-effective maintenance options for all stages of the life cycle

Nilex Inc. – with a complete line of geosynthetic solutions to assist you in every step of the construction, maintenance and rehabilitation process – features additional products, such as GlasGrid Pavement Reinforcement System, GlasGrid Tack Film Pavement Reinforcement System and GlasPave Waterproofing Pavement Mat, to remedy fatigue and reflective cracking, as well as prevent moisture regression.

Constructing roadways with geosynthetics can extend long-term service life significantly, when compared with the longevity of unstabilized pavements of equivalent thickness. These construction efficiencies, and reduced maintenance over extended rehabilitation intervals, will result in lasting structures and a more abundant budget. Applying pavement optimization techniques in your next project will allow you to not only save time and money by improving asphalt and overlay performance, but also leave your very own green footprint by reducing waste.     

To learn more about pavement optimization and how you can extend infrastructure lifespan and reduce maintenance costs, visit www.nilex.com.

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