Jobs in Construction: Common Challenges in Asphalt Pavement Maintenance and Solutions

Pavements are the major load-carrying structures in roads, runways, parking lots, and driveways. They are fundamental for regional or national development. Maintaining asphalt pavement, through jobs in construction, is crucial for ensuring safe and smooth transportation routes. However, this task comes with challenges that construction companies like Kilgore Companies often encounter. From weather-related issues to regular wear and tear, addressing these challenges requires planning and proactive measures. In this article, common challenges in asphalt pavement maintenance and solutions to overcome them will be explored.

Weather Extremes and Their Impact

One of the primary challenges faced by construction companies in asphalt pavement maintenance is dealing with the weather. Harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat, freezing temperatures, heavy rain, and snow can impact asphalt pavements. These weather elements can cause cracks, potholes, and surface deterioration, leading to safety hazards for motorists. If paving happens in the rain, additional compaction effort will be needed for it to be able to withstand weather extremes in the future.

Solution: To minimize the impact of weather extremes, regular inspections, and repairs are essential. Additionally, using high-quality asphalt materials and applying protective sealants can help with the pavement’s durability and resilience against weather-induced damage.

Heavy Traffic Loads and Wear

Asphalt pavements have constant stress from heavy traffic loads, especially on highways, roads, and parking lots. This pressure can result in surface rutting, fatigue cracking, and structural deformities creating more jobs in construction. These issues not only compromise the pavement’s safety but also increase maintenance costs.

Solution: Strategic traffic management plans and regular pavement assessments can help with the impact of heavy traffic loads. Kilgore Companies utilizes pavement techniques to identify areas prone to structural fatigue and distributes traffic flow efficiently to reduce wear. Additionally, reinforcing asphalt pavements with innovative materials like polymer-modified asphalt can enhance their load-bearing capacity and extend their lifespan.

Aging Infrastructure and Maintenance Backlogs

“Over the years, U.S. infrastructure has been steadily deteriorating, affecting the growth and operational success of organizations nationwide. Specifically, this aging infrastructure has contributed to substantial property repair costs, widespread supply chain concerns, and large-scale business interruptions,” says Many regions face challenges due to aging infrastructure and maintenance backlogs, leading to deteriorating asphalt pavements. Lack of maintenance and limited budgets can worsen existing pavement issues, creating safety hazards and increasing the overall cost of rehabilitation.

Solution: Kilgore Companies emphasizes proactive pavement management strategies to address aging infrastructure challenges effectively. By prioritizing regular inspections, timely repairs, and preventive maintenance measures, we can identify and fix issues before they escalate. Working with government agencies and stakeholders to secure funding for infrastructure upgrades and projects is also crucial in addressing maintenance backlogs.

Environmental Factors and Sustainability Concerns

In asphalt pavement maintenance, environmental factors play a big role in determining the longevity and resilience of road surfaces. These factors encompass a range of elements, including UV radiation, moisture infiltration, chemical exposure, and the overall ecological impact of pavement construction and maintenance processes. Addressing these environmental challenges is crucial not only for preserving the asphalt pavements but also for promoting sustainability in the construction industry.

  • UV Radiation: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight can degrade asphalt binders and surface coatings over time. This degradation, known as oxidation, leads to brittleness and reduced flexibility in the pavement, making it easier to crack and deteriorate. To slow the effects of UV radiation, asphalt mixes can be formulated with UV stabilizers and reflective aggregates that help minimize heat absorption and surface temperature, thereby making the pavement last longer. 
  • Moisture Infiltration: ScienceDirect says, “The intrusion of water into asphalt pavements is associated with their reduced performance, unexpected failures, and shortened service life.” Water is one of the most significant contributors to pavement damage. When water seeps into cracks and pores in the asphalt surface, it can weaken the underlying layers and promote the formation of potholes and rutting. Proper drainage systems, including gutters, culverts, and effective slope designs, are essential for preventing water accumulation on pavements. Additionally, the use of permeable asphalt mixes allows water to infiltrate through the pavement and into the ground, reducing runoff and alleviating pressure on stormwater management systems.
  • Chemical Exposure: Asphalt pavements are exposed to various chemicals, including fuels, oils, deicing agents, and industrial pollutants. These chemicals can penetrate the asphalt, causing degradation and structural damage. Implementing spill containment measures, such as berms and absorbent materials, can prevent chemical spills from seeping into the pavement. Using chemical-resistant sealants and coatings can provide an additional layer of protection against corrosive substances.
  • Sustainability Concerns: The sustainability of asphalt pavement maintenance has several aspects, including resource utilization, energy consumption, emissions reduction, and material recycling. Sustainable practices aim to lessen the environmental footprint of pavement construction and maintenance operations while maximizing resource efficiency and long-term performance. Some key strategies and technologies in sustainable pavement maintenance include:
    • Recycled Materials: Incorporating recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) and reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) into new asphalt mixes reduces the demand for virgin aggregates and lowers carbon emissions associated with asphalt production. Kilgore Companies prioritizes the use of recycled materials in their pavement projects.
    • Warm-Mix Asphalt (WMA): WMA technologies allow for asphalt production and placement at lower temperatures compared to traditional hot-mix asphalt (HMA). This reduces energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and asphalt aging during construction, resulting in improved environmental performance and worker safety.
    • Green Infrastructure Solutions: Using green infrastructure elements, such as porous asphalt pavements, bioswales, and permeable pavers, enhances stormwater management and groundwater recharge. These solutions reduce runoff volumes, prevent water pollution, and contribute to ecosystem resilience in urban environments.

Solution: By using environmental sustainability principles and adopting innovative technologies, construction companies like Kilgore Companies can address environmental factors and sustainability concerns in asphalt pavement maintenance more effectively. These efforts not only benefit the environment but also contribute to the development of resilient and eco-friendly infrastructure systems for future generations.

Asphalt pavement maintenance presents many challenges for construction companies, from weather extremes and heavy traffic loads to aging infrastructure and environmental concerns. With strategic planning, advanced technologies, and proactive measures, these challenges can be effectively addressed. Kilgore Companies‘ commitment to innovation, sustainability, and quality enables them to overcome these challenges and deliver reliable, long-lasting asphalt pavements that support safe and efficient transportation networks. Jobs in construction opportunities are abundant in the field of asphalt pavement maintenance, offering rewarding careers for skilled professionals passionate about infrastructure sustainability and safety. Head to our website for more information on jobs.