Black Ice, Potholes – and Ice Bumps

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It’s that time of the year: If the black ice doesn’t get you, the potholes might. And so might the ice bumps. Ice bumps? Well, yes – but to be clear ice bumps or ice mounds should not be confused with black ice, those frozen areas of the roadways that, thanks to a combination of rapid freezing of snow or sleet, are so clear and flat because they lack bubbles…

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Why “Blacktop” Asphalt Paving Rules on Public Roadways

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Asphalt is cheaper to install, and easier to repair, than cement concrete. But both require regular maintenance to ward off deterioration – including potholes. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA), about 94 percent of all surfaces used for transportation – roads, streets, and highways – are paved with asphalt. The characteristics and properties of bitumen-based asphalt, also known as blacktop, are quite different than those of concrete, even if…

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American Residential History: How Worn Paths Became Blacktop Driveways

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Why aren’t there any driveways in pictures of middle class homes from the 1890s? Because they didn’t have cars! The rest is history. Before anyone considers their next blacktop driveway repair project, it might help to consider the history of driveways themselves. As well as the old jokey question, “Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?” The answer to that question is simple: language evolves. The invention…

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The Life Stages of Asphalt Driveways

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No driveway lasts forever. But just like with human health, the wellbeing of asphalt pavement depends on attentive maintenance: resealing, resurfacing, and ultimately repaving. New homeowners learn a hard lesson, gradually, as the home and its surroundings age and deteriorate. It depends on the components of the house, garage, driveway, and landscaping elements – especially the quality of materials and products – but with time a new roof, new paint,…

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The Infrastructure Bill, EV Charging Stations – and Potholes

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The 2021 US infrastructure bill leapt closer to becoming law in August with a strong vote of support from the Senate. So what might it mean for pothole repair? The obvious benefit of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (a working title) is in how much will be dedicated to fixing roads and bridges. While a version of the bill has yet to be voted on in the House, and…

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