Without proper pavement management, or road maintenance, City streets would deteriorate to a condition that would require total reconstruction, which is very expensive. To avoid this, Public Works engineers rate each City-maintained street by condition to determine which type of paving maintenance will be most effective in preserving our streets for a longer life.
Chip Seal: Public Works chip sealed almost 15 lane miles of Columbia streets in 2019. Heated asphalt is sprayed onto the surface of the road, followed by small “chips” or stones, which are compressed into the roadway, creating a pliable long-term wearing surface. Chip seal prevents deterioration by sealing up cracks to prevent water intrusion and preserving the underlying roadway structure at a relatively low cost.
Reclamite: In 2019, more than 15 lane miles of streets were treated with reclamite, a product that can rejuvenate the protective qualities of asphalt lost through oxidation caused by precipitation, sunlight and other factors. Reclamite prevents water, which is the biggest threat to roadways, from penetrating into the asphalt.
Surface Seal: Nearly 24 lane miles of City streets were sealed this fiscal year. Crews use a fast-drying asphalt sealing solution designed to extend pavement life. This mixture of liquid asphalt, fine aggregates, recycled products and bonding agents also protects the roadway from water intrusion.
Mill and Overlay: This year, about 27 lane miles of Columbia streets were overlaid with new asphalt. This process consists of milling off the surface of a street, in most cases, and laying new asphalt. The benefits of asphalt are durability, cost effectiveness, smoothness and the ability to install it relatively quickly. This paving process is about five times more expensive than chip seal but 10 times less expensive than totally reconstructing a street.