Would Heavier Trucks Cause More Potholes?

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With an untold number of potholes on American highways, roads and streets, there are concerns that a pending piece of federal legislation might add to the count. The bill is H.R. 763, the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, which would allow an increase in single-vehicle truck weights from the current limit of 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. At first glance, this seems to be a proposal to place greater strains on roads and bridges, further damaging our already crumbling infrastructure. The breakdown of roads and bridges is a function of…read more

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Hot, Cold and Recycled: Different Asphalts for Different Conditions

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America has spent more than one trillion dollars building its infrastructure of streets, roads, highways and superhighways. Because that building program began decades ago – for cars and bicycles 100 years ago, and in earnest since the 1950s – much of that investment today is crumbling. Potholes are everywhere – but so too is the innovative drive to plug up those breaks in asphalt (most roads are built with asphalt, although some are made with concrete). It’s an elusive search for the Holy Grail of pavement – the smartest, most…read more

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Keep on Truckin’? Roads Pay the Price

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Population growth includes more hauling by truck. And it’s ripping our roads apart. America now has 308 million people, up from 200 million in 1968 and 150 million in 1950 – which was about the time we started building most of our roads. This growth is about more than just people driving around in cars. It’s about all our things – the stuff that goes into making the stuff, and the transport of the end-product stuff from factories (or ports) to warehouses and stores where we buy the stuff –…read more

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Pavement Preservation:

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Introduction: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  It’s a popular cliche that, in the current economic climate especially, holds significant bearing on how people spend their money.  In an attempt to stretch dollars already spent, there is a tendency to postpone maintenance until the last possible moment.  For example, a car driving down the road with squeaking brakes.  So long as they aren’t grinding, the driver is content wearing the pads right down to the rotors.  Or the person with a toothache that puts off seeing a dentist until…read more

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Can Warm Winter Snowplow Savings Fix Potholes?

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The mild winter of 2011-2012 is proving to be a windfall for state, city and county transportation departments. With less snow and ice to remove, that’s less plowing and salt spreading than in previous winters. Fewer days of plowing means less gas consumption and work crew overtime, and less salt to purchase as well. To municipalities of even a modest size, that can translate to tens of thousands of dollars saved. The weather conditions also mean that fewer potholes will form. But will the money saved go to fixing the…read more

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