So what exactly is ‘micro-surfacing‘? It’s a polymer-modified, cold-application paving system utilizing specialized equipment that apply high-quality aggregates to create a long-lasting wearing surface on good, strong pavements.
Bottom line, it’s a form of pavement preservation that more and more decision-makers involved in maintaining and building highways, roadways, neighborhood streets, and airport runways are using to dramatically extend the life of their pavement, saving money over the long run while improving overall safety, too.
Micro-surfacing can be used on pavements suffering from the following conditions:
- Loss of skid resistance
- Surface permeability
- Rut damage
The full-width wearing surface is the most common application. It is often a single-course process adding about 3/8″ thickness to the existing surface. Or, a double course can be applied making an even more robust wearing surface. Either way, adjustments to manholes, inlets, etc. are not necessary. Different aggregate gradations can be used to affect surface texture and overall wearability.
By implementing a proactive pavement preservation plan that incorporates crack sealing, minor patching and micro-surfacing, the overall life of the surface can be extended by as much as 45 years. Compare that to performing major rehabilitation of the surface that extends the life of the surface by about 22 years and you’re getting an additional 20+ years of service.
Cost Savings + Higher Service Level
There are cost savings to be gained as well. Rather than spend $375,000/mile on major rehabilitation, you instead spend $10,000/mile on distress repair, have two micro-surfacing treatments spread out over a several-year period each at $50,000/mile, and many years down the line the surface would then need minor rehabilitation at $250,000/mile bringing your total M & R Cost to $360,000/mile – that’s a $15,000/mile savings.
As pavements wear down over time, they become slick, especially around curves. The aggregate mix in micro-surfacing restores surface quality and improves skid resistance helping to dramatically reduce accident rates.
Seals and Reduces Pavement Oxidation
Asphalt oxidation causes major changes to binder properties and is a major contributor to age-related pavement failure such as fatigue cracking. The additional 3/8″ surface provided by micro-surfacing adds a new, protective layer to the pavement.
Corrects Rutting Issues
Micro-surfacing can also be used to fill wheel-path ruts. A special rut-fill box is used to fill one rut at a time, up to about two inches in depth. This is a cost-effective alternative to expensive pavement milling and hot mix inlay.
One hour after the micro-surfacing treatment has been applied, it’s ready for traffic and gives the appearance of an all-new surface.
Day or night, micro-surfacing is a process that can be performed on high, medium or low volume roadways without causing extensive construction delays.
Longitudinal joint sealer
The weakest section of the pavement is the longitudinal construction joint between traffic lanes. Micro-surfacing prevents moisture from causing expansion, helping prevent costly milling repairs.