Asphalt Paving Blog

Why Municipalities Might Consider High Impact Paving and Perpetual Pavement

asphalt millingAs you commute to work, or travel locally running errands, you never likely stop to consider the sheer miles of roadway you travel upon. Instead, you likely think about the potholes you drive over and wonder why your town or city has not made repairs.

A recent story on WUWM touched on the growing concern of crumbling, hazardous roads in Milwaukee County and the outlined plan for road repairs. With over 1300 miles of roads, Milwaukee County representatives discussed the issues the county faces with roadway repair when larger highway projects account for the majority of time, resource and budget allocation.

The short-term solution outlined: high impact paving.

With the state of local roadways on the minds of many concerned citizens, I thought I would explain high impact paving and perpetual pavement and how both can be used to repair asphalt and extend the lifespan of roadways.

What Is High Impact Paving?

High impact paving can be understood simply as milling or pulverizing the damaged top surface area of the asphalt pavement and filling or overlaying it with a fresh layer of asphalt pavement. High impact paving can be used successfully when the sub-base is structural sound and when the surface cracks and potholes do no compromise the structural integrity of the asphalt.

What is perpetual pavement?

The process of milling used in high impact paving is also used regularly with the maintenance of perpetual pavement. Perpetual pavement is a flexible and strong asphalt pavement that is 6-10 inches thick. The thickness of the asphalt means that the bottom will remain structurally sound, and only the surface layer will be grinded and resurfaced regularly, extending the lifespan of the asphalt surface. The bottom layer is designed to be strong but flexible to resist strains that could cause cracks to form from the bottom up. An intermediate layer adds additional structural protection, and the final layer, made of hot-mix asphalt, requires only minimal maintenance. 

What are the benefits of using perpetual pavement?

Asphalt typically begins to fail when the sub base is compromised. With perpetual pavement, the thickness and durability of the sub-base prevents it from becoming compromised, so cracks and potholes in the surface can be easily milled and repaired on a regular basis. This is beneficial because when cracks and potholes appear in the surface, you will not be required to reconstruct your asphalt surface from the bottom up, you will only be required to repair the surface layer, which takes less time and reduces costs.

Why is high impact paving a good option?

High impact paving or using perpetual pavement is beneficial for municipalities for many reasons. Full roadway reconstruction can take 3-4 weeks to complete and often requires road closures and re-routing, which can be difficult in high traffic areas. High impact paving repairs can be completed quickly, often within days, minimizing the impact on traffic and saving money.

High impact paving of structurally sound asphalt surfaces can last anywhere from 6-10 years and is very cost effective.

But keep in mind; high impact paving should only be used in certain circumstances.
  • When the existing base is still solid.
  • If the existing asphalt does not have alligator cracking.
  •  If the overall surface is in fairly good shape. 
  • Potholes exist only in the top layer.
  • When cracking runs from side to side.

If you grind down the top layer of asphalt and cracks and potholes extend down to the sub base, a fresh surface layer of asphalt will only cover the problem. Over only a short period of time, the cracks and potholes will reappear.

High impact paving is a quick, cheap alternative to full roadway reconstruction and when installed appropriately by a reputable contractor, can provide a great short-term solution to failing roads.

The use of perpetual pavement, however, has long-lasting benefits for municipalities and should be a consideration for high traffic, high volume roadways.

Do you know what type of asphalt pavement you have? Have you considered perpetual pavement for your roadway or parking lot?

With 75 years of asphalt paving experience, from highways to driveways, we are your local source for all of your asphalt paving needs.
For more information on Wolf Paving or to request a free quote for your next paving project contact one of our two offices. If you live or work in the Milwaukee area, call us at 262-965-2121. For the Madison area, call us at 608-249-7931

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Topics: Asphalt Milling, Municipal Paving, Perpetual Pavement