Early collaboration key to better carriage condition

Specialist input may be required sooner rather than later to ensure timely highway intervention

Asphalt Roller

Highway managers need to engage earlier with the supply chain to ensure the most suitable treatment is chosen for prolonging the life of worn pavement and the best return for their investment

So says Asphalt Reinforcement Services managing director Howard Cooke, who points out that collaborating with a wide range of specialists as soon as the major road defects become apparent is the best way to prevent conditions from deteriorating and costs from escalating.

“Companies such as ours have many design tools available and years of experience in prolonging highway life, but we are not often at the coalface and need to work closer with clients and at an earlier stage to get detail and specifications for a repair right, rather than leaving work to the last minute.”

“Specialist contractors do not tend to secure framework contracts with clients and i certainly don’t have a five year reinforcement programme, but we work hard to train and retain operatives and invest in new equipment so that we are ready to help when called upon”

Howard Cooke

“We need to work with clients earlier to get a repair right”
Howard Cooke
Managing Director

Early involvement of his company has proved fruitful on certain contracts, he adds, leading to timely interventions. A collaboration to rejuvenate carriageway between Asphalt Reinforcement Services, Cambridgeshire County Council, maintenance contractor Skanska, Atkins and Stabilised Pavements led to several road improvements such as the recent Milk & Water Drove scheme in Farcet near Peterborough.

Work here was necessary to rectify drought damage to a road and included the use of GlasGrid fibreglass reinforcement, impregnated with a polymer resin. Last November all parties in the consortium were awarded a ‘Green Apple’ Award for environmental best practice.

“Our design services include looking at the mechanical properties of a pavement, evaluating damage caused to asphalt and working out the best way to stop the surface from cracking and potholes from forming,” says Howard.

He points to several road rejuvenation contracts from over a decade ago which have performed better than some had first expected. They include a scheme on the A1 at Baldock in 2002 which has not required further intervention since and the A45 at Great Billing in Northamptonshire in 2008 which again has remained largely defect free.

Howard adds that asphalt reinforcement contracts represent good value for money for asset managers keen on specifying treatments that prolong the life of a highway. He also says that renewal schemes can often be completed quicker than a conventional plane out and resurfacing.

“The use of reinforcement enhances the performance of a pavement and ensures there is a strong weld between layers in the asphalt. We can also install polymer modified bond coats in systems to help resist dynamic forces and combat the effects of repeated trafficking by 44t heavy goods vehicles,” he says.

“I have schemes that have demonstrated less than 1% cracking in 10 years. For a little extra cost, you can achieve much greater performance.”

Howard adds that a majority of the local road network evolved in an informal manner and was not designed to take the frequency and weight of today’s vehicles. “Reinforcement can go a long way to correct defects at a fraction of the cost,“ he says.

This article has been produced in association with Asphalt Reinforcement Services and from CIHT/TP July 2018.