Monday, October 13, 2014

Asphalt: done!

Asphalt: done!  The paving crew was here for most of the day, about 7 hours all together.  The last worker was the roller and thumper operator, who spent a couple of hours making the pavement perfectly, gloriously flat – and with the slight (desirable) tilt so that any water that hits the road will run off.

I found the whole process interesting to watch.  As is often the case, there's far more to getting pavement in place than one might think.  The first step was for the foreman to mark (with temporary spray paint) the patches for the paving machine to do.  The trick to this is to make sure that every patch is wider than the machine's minimum width (about 8'), narrower than its maximum width (about 14'), and with an end point that is still unpaved.  For a driveway that's very odd shaped, as ours is, this is quite a tricky feat!  The paving machine automates much of the work of placing the asphalt in the right place, in the right thickness – but it's a fairly low level of automation, as the machine needs between 4 and 7 people to operate it.  Then comes the rolling and thumping, which compacts the placed asphalt (about 20%, by eyeball) and makes the top nice and smooth.  After watching for a while, I decided that the most skilled job there was the guy who ran the roller and thumper.  Before he started his work, each patch was rough and soft.  By the time he was done, it was hard and smooth.  Occasionally he'd find a place where the wrong amount of asphalt had been placed, which was then quickly corrected – but it was the roller operator who did the finding.  This fellow did a bang-up job on our driveway.

The photos below are in time order: work in progress, a few views of the finished result, and then the last three show my homemade signage at the entrance to our driveway from the main road.  That signage greatly amused the paving crew :) – but they said it was a darned good idea, and hopefully might keep the UPS guy from messing up my nice new asphalt!  We can drive cars on it tomorrow afternoon, but we have to be careful not to turn the wheels (steering) while motionless for a couple of weeks, until the surface has a chance to get good and hard...

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