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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

County to investigate pavement preservation treatment options


Last updated 9/24/2018 at 12:37pm

A working group will determine whether new pavement preservation treatment options can extend the time until San Diego county roads need to be repaved.

A 5-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote Sept. 11 directed the county’s chief administrative officer to create a working group comprised of industry associations, public agencies and county staff to identify innovative and cost-effective pavement preservation treatments which can be used on county roads. The chief administrative officer was directed to return to the board of supervisors within 180 days with recommendations based on the working group’s findings.

“It is clear to me that there are some really good ideas out there,” board of supervisors chair Kristin Gaspar said. “Our goal is to extend the overall life of our roads and achieve smoother, safer roads.”

The county’s Department of Public Works prioritizes road maintenance work through a pavement management system which incorporates field review, resident and community input and mechanical data collection to determine which roads are in need of resurfacing.

The condition of a roadway determines the appropriate surface treatment; asphalt concrete overlays are used for significantly degraded roads with extensive cracking and potholes while slurry seal treatment is the preferred maintenance for roads with only minor cracking and no significant surface damage as the thinner slurry seal surface layer is more cost-effective and extends the pavement life.

In the past the county has used rubberized asphalt concrete for the top layer.

“It was too expensive,” Supervisor Bill Horn said.

Although rubberized asphalt concrete is approximately 10 percent more expensive than ordinary asphaltic concrete, the rubberized surface has proven to be more durable than normal asphalt concrete. Over the long term rubberized asphalt concrete decreases noise by four to six decibels, so the benefit is maximized on roads with high traffic volumes which are close to residential streets. The other advantage of rubberized asphalt concrete is that it allows former tires to be recycled, and the county’s use of rubberized asphalt concrete has included grant applications to the state Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to subsidize the cost.

Future potential treatment methods, pending the findings of the working group, include increased use of reclaimed asphalt pavement, cold-in-place recycling and microsurfacing, which uses a polymer additive, as well as rubberized asphalt.

“I believe that roads are the gateway to our community,” Gaspar said.

One of Gaspar’s goals as this year’s board of supervisors chair is to focus on innovation.

“I have a passion for finding efficiency,” she said.


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