Ensuring drivability with Thinlays (with related video)
With tight budgets and a backlog of needed maintenance, those responsible for maintaining roads face tough choices when it comes to pavement preservation. To be effective over the long term, pavement maintenance and preservation strategies need to look at value-added benefits of various pavement treatments. Thin asphalt overlays, also called “Thinlays,” successfully extend the life of structurally sound pavements while ensuring the smooth, quiet, high-performing level of drivability that the public values.
Thinlays can be placed at varying thicknesses, starting at just 5/8 of an inch, to suit the needs of a project. The result is optimization of material used and drivability benefits received. The thin overlay application ensures that pavement preservation dollars are well invested. Thinlays also can take advantage of sustainable technologies, such as incorporating recycled materials and warm-mix asphalt. The overlays offer versatility in the form of different mixes for different situations, such as open-graded friction courses for improved visibility in wet weather. A stone-matrix asphalt mix, on the other hand, could be the best option for heavy traffic areas.
With Thinlays, the pavement’s surface is protected and improved, but Thinlays also improve the structural capacity of structurally sound pavements. They also extend a pavement’s life. So long as bottom-up fatigue cracking is not present in the lower levels of a pavement, Thinlays can be strategically placed to improve the loading capacity of a road. The overlays can also be used to complete a long-life Perpetual Pavement design over an extended time.
Thinlays offer an improved ride quality. That ride quality is more comfortable for drivers, and resurfaced roadways are quieter for homeowners. Smooth roads can help ensure the timely delivery of goods and services. Rough roads, on the other hand, increase wear and tear on vehicles and reduce fuel economy; they also have a negative impact on travel time and even crash rates.
Thinlay asphalt overlays offer an economical, efficient solution for pavement management and preservation. They also ensure a consistent level of drivability. For more information, visit here or here.
Hanson is Director of Engineering at the Lanham, Md.-based National Asphalt Pavement Association.
In this “Thin is In — in Nashville” instructional video, the National Asphalt Pavement Association shows how a thin asphalt overlay on Tenth Street in downtown Nashville extended the life of the pavement by 10 more years.