Friday, June 20, 2014
Alternatives Do Exist For Street Paving
The little town of Bennet -- just southeast of Lincoln -- has fewer people than Dorchester.
The tiny village of Sprague, east of Crete, has only about a quarter of the residents that Dorchester claims.
Yet both these communities have paved streets. How did they afford it?
A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip to Bennet (see the picture with this article) and Sprague to study their street surfaces. While some of the town streets were paved with good old-fashioned concrete, several streets were surfaced with a process in which a foundation of asphalt had been covered with small, crushed rock.
It's certainly more affordable than regular pavement. And it holds up to the elements better. Best of all, no pot holes, no dust, no washboards.
As far as we can tell, the process is called "chip sealing." Asphalt pavement deteriorates in time because of the vehicle loads, tire wear, sun and weather. A chip seal helps seal the surface and provides an armor coat for skid and weather resistance.
The best aspect of chip sealing is simple economics. The cost is about $60,000 per mile. At that cost, we could address many of Dorchester's most heavily traveled streets.
We hope that Dorchester leaders will keep exploring options to address our streets, including considering asphalt covered with crushed rock.
Our town's corridors are more than just surfaces we drive on -- they also impact our town's housing and the amount of investment people are willing to spend on the property they own.