Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Savings in Paving: Finding innovative ways to approach construction

Roads Construction work, like paving, is an essential part to keeping Calgary’s roadways safe and in good condition. Over the spring and summer months, The City of Calgary’s Roads Department is busy repairing and repaving many of our city’s arterial and residential roadways. Although Roads has been paving Calgary for approximately 100 years, technology has allowed us to explore innovative and environmentally conscious ways to approach the work that we do then from our early days. Recently, paving crews were able to rehabilitate a stretch of Centre Street from Stoney Trail to the City Limits using a process called Full-Depth Reclamation (FDR). FDR actually recycles the asphalt that is currently on the roadway, expending less energy and resources yet still creating a safe and sturdy road.

Here’s how it works:
  1. FDR allows equipment to drive across a stretch of roadway and pulverize the existing asphalt and some of the gravel base material
  2. Cement is then sprayed on to the road. A stabilizing machine called a Reclaimer is driven along the road and mixes foamed asphalt, the sprayed cement as well as the pulverised asphalt and gravel road base together.
  3. The roadway is then shaped, graded and compacted to create a new strong, durable roadway base.
  4. Finally, the road is paved using asphalt, as seen in the opening photo.
Studies have also shown that the FDR process produces five times less greenhouse gas emissions and uses almost seven times less energy than traditional asphalt reconstruction. Also, by paving the road in this way, The City saved more than 40 per cent in cost than compared to a traditional road reconstruction.

Although FDR isn’t suited to all road rehabilitation projects, it is a program we’re hoping to integrate into more of our future construction work. Roads is always looking for new and innovative ways to reduce our environmental, fiscal and social impact in all of the work that we do. Find out more about the materials and research the Roads Construction group is working with on

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