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Asphalt Paving of the Provincial Highways and Pavements in Edmonton

Asphalt Paving of the Provincial Highways and Pavements in Edmonton - Jason Brock

I remember growing up in Alberta in the 1970s and was fascinated by how the provincial highways came up south of Sherwood Park. I was also reminded about my grandfather’s stories when he told me that Alberta used to mark its highways with different colors until the mid 1920s and then they abandoned that idea in favor of a numbering system. He used to tell me that by the 30s, gravel roads were completed from the United States border right up to Edmonton. The network of provincial highways in Alberta involved almost over 2,300 kilometers.

I saw the growth of many paving companies in this region as I grew up. Many companies have progressed from patching companies to road-paving ones. Today these companies have turned into big road construction giants who are busy building the important arterial roadways for the city.

I was fascinated by how the pavement is done. They are made out of a mixture of rocks and liquid cement and such kind of aggregates that give the pavements their structure and the necessary strength to withstand the burden of voluminous traffic and asphalt Edmonton becomes that adhesive binder which is great for bonding these aggregates and holding them in place on our pavement. The unique physical properties, particularly the elastic ones, allow the roads to flex and then recover immediately under heavy traffic.

The modern flexible pavements, as they are called, also contain some additives added by the manufacturers to improve their performance. To give you an example, polymers are being added to enhance elasticity; hydrated lime and chemical anti-strips are being used to improve the bonding of these aggregates. These flexible pavements are generally 95 percent by the weight aggregates and the remaining five per cent by the binders.

The commercial lots that are paved by these aggregates are perfect for the climate in Alberta that experiences many freezing cycles followed by thawing. Not only are these lots flexible but they are also durable and strong to resist such wear and tear. You can expect these pavement lots to last for more than 30 years with the minimum of maintenance.

Asphalt now has become the most recycled material in the whole of North America. It is more so than aluminium, paper or even plastic. Perhaps four out of every five tonnes of pavement made by this is removed for resurfacing and widening projects and is used again. This is possible because very little additional energy in needed to summon up those raw materials.

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