City experiments with pavement rejuvenation process to extend life of streets

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite

Anyone traveling down Washington Street late last week may have noticed traffic barrels and crews spraying a pink substance onto the roadway. The substance was a special emulsified asphalt that Assistant City Engineer Joshua Randell hopes will extend the life of the street and prolong the time between major repairs.

"The best way I can describe it is it's like putting lotion into dry, cracked hands," Randell said. "This actually revitalizes and reinvigorates the malleability of the pavement. Asphalt is a flexible pavement, and we're trying to restore those flexible properties and slow dow the aging process. If we can slow it down by another five or six years before we need to do another overlay, we've saved the city quite a bit of money."

To illustrate his point, Randell said that the rejuvenation process cost about $1 per square yard. A typical mill and overlay in which the top two to three inches of asphalt is shaved off and a new surface treatment is installed would cost around $8 to $12 per square yard. A full reconstruction from the ground up would cost around $50 a square yard.

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A truck sprays down a solution to rejuvenate the asphalt on Washington Street. The substance comes out pink but turns black as it dries.

"If this process works out we'll be saving the city thousands of dollars and even millions over time," Randell said.

While the rejuvenation process is not new, this is the first time the City of Ardmore has tried it. In a few months the city will be sending a core sample of the rejuvenated pavement to a lab to see how successful the process was.

"In about 90 days they'll come out and cut a full depth core sample and take it to the lab," Randell said. "The lab is going to run tests on it to see how much penetration we got out of the rejuvenation agent. I'm looking for close to three quarters of an inch of penetration, and that's what's going to tell me if we'll do this agin on other roads in the future."

If successful the city will use the same system on other roads, and Randell said this will free up resources to work on other street repair projects.

"If we can extend the life of these pavements, then we'll have more money to fix the streets that are in need of full depth repair," he said. "That's my goal."

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