flash flood

A Flash Flood of Reflective Cracking

As flood water levels rise in the UK, so does the cost of reactive maintenance to repair the reflective cracking caused to our roads. Not only is the UK known for it’s grey skies and washed out summers, but with increasingly wetter winters, the quality of our infrastructure has the capacity to decline rapidly.

Excessive rain leads to puddling on the UK’s roads and can cause river banks to burst, causing a deluge of water, negatively impacting the asphalt in a matter of hours. A superfluous amount of water on the surface layer of the road can have a detrimental effect, especially for any road surface that contains a bitumen and aggregate mix. The result of sustained saturation of the road surface? Reflective cracking that worsens with each passing rain shower.

Weakening the bond between bitumen and aggregate

The true cost of puddling and flooding can be seen mainly in the deterioration of the surface layer’s durability. The more water (and the longer it sits) on the surface, the more it seeps into the asphalt pavement. The seriousness of this absorption, is that the water causes the bond between the bitumen and aggregate to weaken, leading to a vast reduction in the strength of the road surface. This in turn leads to the eventual degradation of the road, resulting in major repairs.

With ever mounting congestion problems on Britain’s roads, closing important transport links for maintenance can have a huge impact on the economy, as well as being a major cause of stress and frustration to the travelling public.

Safety concerns

What compounds this matter even worse is the the lack of preventative maintenance to our road system. This has led to increasing concerns over the conditions and the safety of the UK’s roads.

Damage to road surfaces is literally a drain on resources. In 2014/15 there were 2.7 million potholes filled in. The average cost of filling a pothole was £56 in England, £65 in Wales and £72 in London. The problem doesn’t stop there, you also have compensation claims reaching over £40 million from accidents and damage to vehicles.

It’s time that the government and the industry realised that prevention is better than a cure when it comes to road maintenance. Contingencies need to be put in place before damage happens, not after. If this mentality could be instilled, then maintenance costs would reduce and our roads would be safer and more reliable.

The way forward is to have a programme of repairs to address road damages and subsequent defects arising from severe weather conditions, as well as to help seal roads for upcoming bad weather.

This is where Asphalt Reinforcement Services can help.

Not only does it offer a comprehensive range of geosynthetic geogrid reinforcement systems, but it also has an unequivocal product in the GlasGrid® GlasPave® waterproofing system. Made from from a fiberglass woven fabric, embedded between two lightweight polyester geotextiles, it is particularly effective for waterproofing and requires 50% less hot asphalt cement for saturation than conventional paving fabrics. This is turn reduces costs and reduces carbon footprints.

As you can see, with the right mindset and the right products, not only can we reduce the true cost of reflective cracking, but also have a positive impact on the environment.