Henrico County is in the midst of a blitz to repave and resurface roads following a harsh winter of abuse.
Early this year, the Department of Public Works launched a series of projects to improve about 92 miles of high-volume secondary roads and 114 miles of neighborhood streets.
The amount of repaving and resurfacing represents increases of 115 percent and 55 percent, respectively, over totals for 2013.
Crews are scheduled to work through the fall. Because of this, Public Works is asking drivers to be alert for temporary lane closures and to be patient as projects progress.
At times, residents may notice a break in activity between stages of work.
Most repaving or resurfacing projects can be completed in three to six weeks if weather conditions are acceptable and crews available. The time to complete a project also depends on the method of repaving or resurfacing used.
For higher-traffic secondary roads, such as Hungary Road, the process generally takes three to four weeks. The improved road conditions typically last 10 to 15 years.
These projects proceed as follows:
- The road is milled to remove about 2 inches of damaged or distressed asphalt
- About one week later, a layer of new asphalt is applied
- After two weeks, new striping is added.
For neighborhood streets, one of two methods of resurfacing is used. Each usually takes four to six weeks to complete and provides five to seven years of optimum use.
In the “chip seal” method:
- The pavement is sprayed with an asphalt binding material
- Small stones, or chips, are spread across the area to be patched
- A roller compacts the area to compress the stones into the pavement cracks
- After two to four weeks of settling, a power sweeper makes two passes to remove loose stones and prepares the surface for a sealant, called “slurry seal.” This coating fills in slight imperfections, seals out water and gives the road a smooth, uniform color, texture and surface.
Another method of resurfacing effectively recycles the pavement in place before sealant is applied:
- The road surface is heated, which allows it to be reshaped to a proper slope and grade
- While hot, the recycled asphalt is rolled to its final compaction before a coat of slurry seal is applied.
For more information on road maintenance and other Public Works projects, go to henrico.us/works or call (804) 727-8300.