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Crack Sealing

base layers

Crack sealing is the most commonly applied preventive maintenance pavement treatment used to fill cracks greater than 1/8”. Crack sealing is used to prevent water intrusion from degrading roads. Cracks occur on pavement due to traffic load and thermal stress. Cracks are inevitable, and neglect leads to accelerated cracking, which if left untreated can result in potholes and deeper base erosion. Untreated cracks allow debris, rain, and moisture to erode roads to a condition beyond cost-effective treatments to more extensive and costly repairs. Sealing of cracks is a critical step in extending the life of City streets. Crack sealant slows the deterioration process of cracks and extends the life of the road from 3-7 years on average. This additional life span combined with the low cost of the treatment makes crack sealing an extremely valuable preventative maintenance technique and an effective use of the City’s limited road funding when compared with other treatment options.

alligator cracking

A common question after a crack sealing operation is "Why were not all the cracks treated with this application?" The most common reason why is fatigue cracking, such as “alligator cracking” as seen in this image does not benefit from a crack sealing application.

There are several reasons for this type of cracking; water intrusion through cracks left untreated, the asphalt section may not have been constructed to withstand current traffic loads, or a problem with the subgrade. If this is the case, a more extensive repair is needed such as a patch or reconstruction.


Environmental Impact

Crack sealing saves resources and energy by using post-consumer recycled tire rubber reducing the amount of polymers and chemicals consumed. Innovations such as box-less packaging, dust control routers, and dust control vacuum systems have further promoted ‘going green’ by eliminating waste and particulate matter in the air typically generated during crack sealing operations

Crack sealing has the least amount of environmental impact when comparing to other pavement maintenance treatments.


Process

  1. Cracks and joints are cleaned of vegetation, debris and loose asphalt.
  2. Sealing material is heated in a machine 380 degrees Fahrenheit for proper placing.
  3. Crack sealant is applied to cracks and squeegeed flat onto the surface.

Impact to Residents

Streets will not be closed for this treatment; however, traffic may need to be coordinated by construction workers during application. The drying time of crack sealant is very quick, allowing vehicular traffic to drive across the freshly sealed cracks in short time.


The Result

Roads that last longer and are structurally strengthened against water permeation, will degrade at a slower rate, reducing future maintenance costs.

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