You are on page 1of 6

Road construction 1.

0 Introduction Roads are composite materials that bear the weight of pedestrian and vehicular loads. Road thickness, width and type should vary based on the intended function of the paved area. Road thickness is determined by four factors: environment, traffic, base characteristics and the pavement material used.

2.0 Types of road construction methods 2.1 Asphalt Road Asphalt is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleum and in some natural deposits. Asphalt is primarily used as a sealant for rooftops and a durable surface for roads, airport runways, playgrounds, and parking lots. It consists of asphalt and mineral aggregate mixed together, then laid down in layers and compacted. Below are some advantages and disadvantages to using asphalt for street pavements.

Considerations of Asphalt:

Dark pavement increases heat radiating from the surface on sunny days; this can make it uncomfortable for pedestrians to walk without proper shading.

Relatively smooth finish helps with snow removal and reduces noise level. Cost effective as asphalt is quick to implement and dries fast, thus reducing the time to complete construction and having a road blocked to traffic.

Recyclable material as asphalt can be used over and over again. With new design strategies, improved performance of material and construction techniques, asphalt can be designed to last over 40 years.

Causes weather pollution since melting asphalt produces a lot of harmful greenhouse gases.

Asphalt can be less durable with heavy traffic that causes rutting. Because of the smooth finish, asphalt is good for bicyclist. Asphalt is not ideal for bus stops because of the heavy weight of the vehicle; concrete bus pads generally work best.

2.2 Concrete road Concrete is a composite construction material composed of cement and other materials, such as fly ash, slag cement, aggregate, water, and chemical admixtures. Concrete is used to make pavements for roads, sidewalks, bridges/overpasses, parking structures, walls, and other architectural structures and foundations. Below are some advantages and disadvantages to using concrete for street pavements.

Considerations of Concrete:

High durability as concrete has a long service life. Greener process as producing it is less polluting than asphalt. More resource sensitive as it does not use a petroleum byproduct. Paving cost of the concrete road is higher compared to asphalt paving. Higher maintenance cost as it can easily develop cracks. Concrete is great for pedestrians because it does not give off heat on warm sunny days.

Concrete is good for sidewalks, but must beware of tree roots cracking sidewalks. Concrete pads should always be used at bus stops as they can hold heavier vehicles.

2.3 Brick road A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. Brick pavement is incapable of withstanding heavy traffic, but is coming back into use as a method of traffic calming or as decorative surfaces in pedestrian precincts. Below are some advantages and disadvantages to using brick as road surfaces. Considerations of Brick Roads:

Overall longer life span than asphalt. Can be used as a traffic calming element in areas where slow speed is encouraged. Provides a nice design element to neighborhoods. Individual bricks become loose and uneven over time and need to be replaced. Cannot withstand heavy traffic. Tree roots can uplift breaks if the roots get too large. Loose and uplifted bricks can become stumbling blocks for pedestrians.

Brick roads are less comfortable for bike riders. Brick roads are less safe for wheel chair users.

2.4 Gravel road A gravel road is a type of unpaved road surface with gravel that has been brought to the site from a quarry or stream bed. Gravel roads are common in rural areas with low development. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of using gravel as a road surface.

Considerations of Gravel Roads:

Less costly to construct than paved road because the material is cheaper. Easier to maintain as they require less equipment. Surface damage is less expansive and easier to correct. Gravel roads preserve the areas rural character. Require more frequent maintenance because over time the gravel becomes loose. Gravel roads generate dust. Can become impassable with frequent snow or rain as water tends to stand. Create greater wear and tear on vehicles than paved roads. Are not good for bicyclists because the gravel is uneven and uncomfortable to ride and can become loose over time.

3.0 Asphalt paving road construction in Mauritius In Mauritius, hot asphalt mix which is primarily used as paving (road surfacing) material consists of a mixture of aggregates (crushed basalt stone) and bitumen heated and mixed together in correct proportions to produce a homogenous final mix.

The whole process comprises the following steps a) Aggregate hopper bin The aggregates will be obtained from UBP stone crushing plant which adjoins the proposed site of the company doing this. These aggregates shall be of four distinguishable grades with the following diameters:

Types of Aggregate Diameter (mm) i. ii. Fine dust 0 - 6 Medium 4 - 6

iii. iv.

Medium 6 - 10 Coarse 10 14

The aggregates shall be stored in a hopper bin comprising 4 different compartments for each particular grade. Two of the bins are equipped with a weighing device while the remaining ones are of volumetric dispensed types. The four bins shall be driven by variable controlled electric motor to suit the need of different mix formulas established by laboratories, and also to control the rate of production with respect to the humidity content.

b) Proportions of raw materials Road surfacing is designed to support a certain gross vehicle weight. Accordingly, formulas are devised by laboratories to meet such specifications as per client demands. A weighing conveyor shall thus be used to weigh the pre-determined amount of aggregates needed for the process. Likewise, by subtracting the percentage of humidity of the sand from the total amount of raw material input, the weighing conveyor shall determine the percentage of bitumen to be injected later on in the process. Sand is used as fillers to fill the void between the aggregate grains and thus improving the wearing capability of the overall asphalt mixture. c) Continuous mixing process The four particular types of aggregates shall be fed to a dryer mixer drum where they will be heated and mixed together. The drum comprises an inherent burner inclined at an appropriate angle and shall use either diesel or heavy oil for heating purposes. On rotation, the aggregates as well as the combustion products from the burner shall move towards the other end of the drum in parallel.

One of the essential conditions for producing good hot mix asphalt is to ensure proper and rapid mixing of the bitumen and the aggregates. Consequently, this mixing process shall be aided by an integrated paddle mounted inside the drum. The centrifugal force produced on rotation shall maintain the resulting hot mix asphalt inside the drum. The residential time of the asphalt shall depend on the required specification.

d) Finished product Once the mixing process in the rotating drum is over, the hot mix asphalt which is at a temperature of 150C shall be conveyed to a storage bin of 15 tonnes capacity.

The latter is equipped with a thermal jacket which shall act as a heat insulator. The combustion product and the dry dust suspension in the dryer shall exit the drum through a venturi device. The finished hot mix asphalt shall be eventually loaded in lorries for

distribution on different sites.

4.0 Machinery used in Mauritius o Bulldozer A modern bulldozer consists of a tracked chassis, protective driver cage, rear-mounted ripper claw and a variety of front-mounted blades. The operator uses the rear-mounted ripper claw to break up rocks, pavement or hardened ground. The next step is to set the front-mounted blade at a prescribed depth and literally push the loosened soil forward. o Compactor The compactor is used to reduce the size of soil through compaction. Note that compactors are available in all shapes and sizes and are normally powered by hydraulics. o Excavator The excavator is comprised of two parts, a driving base and a powerful boom arm with an attachment designed for digging. The operator sits inside a small cab attached to the base and controls the arm. o Loader The loader is used to load asphalt into or onto another type of machinery such as a damp truck or a hopper. o Crane The crane is used both to lift and lower asphalt and to move them horizontally.

5.0 References The Civil Engineer Group 2010, Concrete Roads vs. Asphalt Roads, viewed 14 Oct 2011, <> Asphalt Pavement Institute, Benefits of Asphalt, viewed 14 Oct 2011,