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Water is one of asphalt’s “natural enemies.” Puddles of water on an asphalt pavement will slowly break down the asphalt and cause a pothole to form. Water deteriorates asphalt by breaking the bonds between the asphalt binder and the rocks and sand. Asphalt binder is a by-product produced from crude oil during gasoline production, and water and oil don’t mix.
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During the summer of 2017, Bituminous Roadways, Inc. (BR), was contracted to reconstruct the parking lot for a busy fitness center in the southern Twin Cities metro area. L.A. Fitness management communicated with BR the desire to continue full operation during construction. Due to the extensive nature of this project, BR recommended a two-phase approach. Phasing a project isn’t necessarily an obstacle, but it does take some planning and can present some challenges. The parking area was divided into two sections. When BR was working in the first area, barricades were used to indicate to fitness members where they could park. After the first phase was completed, the barricades were switched and users were able to park on the freshly paved asphalt parking lot while BR completed the second section.
Winter is a “hard” time for asphalt pavements, literally. Asphalt pavements are produced and constructed at high temperatures when the asphalt binder is a liquid so it can be easily mixed with the rocks and sand. During the spring, summer, and fall seasons, asphalt is flexible and stretchy in the warm weather, helping to prevent cracks from forming. However, as temperatures decrease during winter, the asphalt becomes harder and stronger, but also more brittle. Extreme cold temperatures can cause pavements to crack, but the most damage to pavements is caused by freeze-thaw cycles.