ROUTINE ROADWAY MAINTENANCE
This page contains information regarding routine roadway maintenance activities that may be of interest to Warriors Mark Township Residents and others utilizing Warriors Mark Township Roadways.
Warriors Mark Township performs several roadway activities on township roadways/rights-of-way during the year. Most of these activities take place during the April through October time period. Activities include, but are not limited to: Shoulder Cutting, Shoulder Grading, Tree and other Vegetation Trimming and or Removal, Crack Sealing, and Road Surface Treatment (also known as Seal Coating or Oil & Chip), Cross Drain Pipe Replacement and Cleaning. Most of these respective maintenance activities are described below. The township will attempt to maintain traffic flow during most of these maintenance activities, but motorists should be prepared to experience short delays. If it is necessary to close roadways or portions of roadways, expect to see signage at the roadway entrance similar to: ROAD CLOSED AHEAD and, then, where the road is actually closed to traffic, signage will read: ROAD CLOSED.
When possible, respective roadway work schedules will be posted on the township website and on Facebook. Schedules will be tentative, as factors such as weather, equipment failure, and other factors may alter the proposed schedule. When approaching and traveling trough a roadway work zone; PLEASE, PLEASE proceed slowly for the safety of the individuals preforming the roadway maintenance tasks. Lack of motoring public cooperation could result in road closings for all maintenance tasks.
Shoulder cutting removes excess material and debris from unpaved shoulder areas. This improves drainage and allows water to leave the roadway. This process requires equipment such as graders, trucks, brooms, belt loaders or wheel loaders, and rollers. Workers move in front to spot and mark or remove objects which could potentially damage equipment, such as sign posts, glass, and large rocks.
The grader follows the workers, cuts excess material from the shoulder and places it in a pile to be picked up by a loader. It is deposited into a truck to haul to a fill site. Sweeping to clean excess material remaining on the roadway is the next piece of the operation. Finally, the roller follows the loading operation to compact or stabilize the exposed soil.This is an important roadway maintenance operation. When drainage systems do not function properly, water collects on the roadway, creating potential icing conditions in the winter and weakening pavement throughout the seasons, causing potholes and or pavement fatigue.
Shoulder grading involves the shaping and stabilizing of unpaved roadway shoulder areas. This maintenance operation is usually programed between April and November. A shoulder grading crew utilizes several township or contractual workers to operate graders, dump trucks, a roller, and power broom. The township grades shoulders to eliminate the drop-off between the roadway and the shoulder and to allow water to drain away from the road surface. If ruts are allowed to form and remain on the shoulder, water can enter and damage the edge of the pavement.
The outside edge of the shoulder is cut toward the road. The cut material is regraded over the shoulder to fill in low areas and ruts. The material is swept from the roadway to the shoulder and compacted with a roller.
Crack sealing is used to seal cracks on asphalt roads. Crack sealing prevents water from seeping through cracks in an asphalt road, which can lead to potholes and pavement break up. Joint sealing prevents stones or other hard materials from being deposited between slabs on a concrete roadway. If a significant amount of material does get into the joints, the road cannot expand and contract with the changing temperatures and will ultimately break at the joints or the slab may buckle.
Crack sealing is typically performed from March through November depending on weather conditions. This time frame is utilized because the joints are fully open. Both types of operations require workers to utilize, a truck, a heating devise for the sealant and a device to apply the sealant. These maintenance activities involve removing debris from the crack to be sealed and then applying a liquid asphalt material.
Vegetation management beautifies the roadways, makes them safer, more accessible and enhances the scenery. Mowing, pesticide spraying and selected tree thinning are the processes that make up the management program. How often roads are mowed is determined by vegetation growth height. In areas in which mowers cannot safely travel, herbicide may be applied to the roadside vegetation. Herbicide use is more cost effective than tree cutting or trimming. Herbicides control the extensive root systems of invasive plants. All three activities maintain visibility on the roadsides.
Tree Canopying of the road surface tends to reduce roadway surface life and reduces the effectiveness of winter treatment maintenance material.
A typical tree trimming/thinning crew consists of four, six or 8 crew members including traffic control. Tree trimming/thinning equipment usually includes a pickup truck, wood chipper, chipper truck, bucket truck, dump truck, loader, chain saws, and other hand tools as required. For mowing, the township utilizes its own tractor mowers, hand-held weed trimmer, and contract or leased boom mowers.
Seal Coating is commonly known as “Oil and Chip,” “Chip Seal”. This maintenance operation is used as a way to extend the life of low-traffic-volume roads for another three to five years and in some cases 7 years or longer, and is less costly than repaving. This activity is performed when temps are greater than 60 degrees, generally in the months of April to October. Surface treatment requires a sweeper, oil distributor, a stone chipper, rollers, numerous dump trucks, and a crew comprised of approximately 18 crew members including operators and traffic control. The operation begins with the roadway being swept clean of all debris. Then, oil is sprayed to the roadway with a layer of fine stone immediately applied on top of the oil. It is then rolled in place with all loose aggregate swept from the roadway once cured. Usually this is a one coat treatment, but sometimes a two coat treatment is advisable.
Generally, it takes about two days for the stones to fully bond in the hardened asphalt. Motorists should reduced their speed on their roads until the stone and the asphalt fully adhere. This maintenance treatment seals the road surface to keep water out and restores the friction of the surface to enhance traction.
Using chip seal instead of asphalt overlay stretches limited dollars. Recent cost analysis for Seal Coating vs Asphalt Overlay: $1.00 per square yard for Seal Coating compared with around $7.00 per square yard for asphalt. Overall; Why use Seal Coating?
- Seal Coating provides the opportunity to maintain many roads for a lower cost.
- By extending the time between asphalt overlays, Seal Coating results in lower costs over the long term.
- Seal Coating eliminates the need to crack seal.
- Seal Coating enhances safety by providing good skid resistance.
- Seal Coating provides an effective moisture barrier for the underlying pavement against water intrusion by sealing cracks in the pavement.
- Seal Coating prevents deterioration of the asphalt surface from the effects of aging and oxidation due to water and sun.
- Seal Coating is used only on low traffic routes, less than 2,500 vehicles per day.
- Seal Coating helps eliminate black ice situations.
- In hot weather, Seal Coating helps re-seal cracks by flowing back together.
Resurfacing is exactly what it sounds like, adding a completely new asphalt surface (sometimes called an overlay) OVER the existing asphalt pavement. But unlike seal coating, which is essentially a preventative and protective treatment, resurfacing is more of an emergency cost-saving measure used when asphalt shows serious signs of failure.
There are other options, of course. Sections of the pavement can be patched or replaced, and cracks or potholes can be repaired. But if your asphalt has significant valleys that fill with standing water when it rains, or large sections of spreading, interconnected cracks that are crumbling away, a general resurfacing might be the best long-term solution.
A number of steps are involved in the process to ensure a successful final result. The old pavement is cleaned, patched, and repaired, high or low areas are ground down or filled up, and drainage features are adjusted. Then a brand new asphalt layer (along with several other applications to help with durability and adhesion) is put down over top of the old pavement. The result is a brand new pavement surface that uses the old pavement and foundation for stability and strength.
Pipe Replacing & Cleaning
To maintain the effective flow of water around the township’s roadways, pipe
replacement and pipe cleaning are essential. Controlling water flow is one of the most important aspects of maintaining pavements. Uncontrolled water flow will damage both the pavement surface as well as the area under the pavement, causing deterioration of the roadway.
Pipe replacement can be a year-round activity. Periodical inspections of drainage pipes is conducted to check for excessive debris and pipe serviceability quality. Typically, if needed, additional or replacement pipe is installed prior to repaving or sealing the pavement surface. A standard pipe crew consists of four to six crew members including traffic control. Equipment includes a truck and trailer, backhoe, two dump trucks, pavement saw, compactor and possibly a compressor.
Because of its durability and ease of handling, most pipe replacements are plastic, with the remainder split between metal and concrete. Pipe replacement operations consist of cutting or sawing pavements, removal and disposal of the deteriorated pipe, trench preparation in the sub-pavement for installing the replacement pipe, filling the trench, compacting the fill material and replacing the pavement surface. Additional pipe installation is the same process, except for the removal and disposal process.
Pipe cleaning is mostly performed in the summer months by flushing the pipe with water. Most pipes are cleaned with a high-velocity water flow or with a high-velocity sewer cleaner. To ensure that water reaches the pipe, additional assemblies are needed such as ditch cleaning, shoulder cutting and shoulder grading which keeps water flowing along its natural drainage course.
Plan ahead for the Winter Storm. It is suggested that homeowners use the following technique to minimize the amount of snow a highway snowplow shoves into the entrance to your driveway. Facing the street, use a shovel or snow blower to clear a space to the left of your driveway that’s at least 10 feet long and at least over a car width wide and couple of feet off the cartway. That way, when the snowplow comes down the street, it pushes most of the snow into that area and not into your driveway. This area should be cleared after each snowstorm in preparation for the next storm.
Be kind to the plow operator. As annoying as the snowplow pile deposited at the entrance to your driveway may be, don’t give in to the impulse to hurl the snow back into the street. That just prolongs the problem, causing the snowplow truck operator to make more passes to clear the road. The result? Another plow pile of snow.
Winter Operations include the removal of snow and ice as well as applying deicing materials on all roadways and bridges. Winter operations involve a skilled operator, and a dump truck equipped with a salt/anti-skid spreader and a snow plow.
In preparation for winter storms, Warriors Mark Township Employees prepare winter maintenance equipment for the grueling task the equipment will be confronted with during the Winter Season. These maintenance checks and repairs attempt to limit any major equipment failures or breakdowns. But equipment failures will occur and at times repairs are outsourced to local repair facilities and in service equipment responsibility areas are expanded until all equipment is back in service.
To prevent ice from building up on the road surface, township trucks spread a mixture of salt to melt the ice and small stones called anti-skid to provide traction.
In some areas, the township will limit salt and increase the amount of anti-skid spread over the road surface because salt depends on a certain amount of traffic to be fully effective.
Salt works best on roads when roadway temperatures are above 30 degrees. While salt is highly effective between 30 and 32 degrees, its effectiveness goes down drastically with temperatures below 30 degrees. During a storm, the township will plow, salt and anti-skid major township roadways and school bus routes first before moving to the less traveled roads.
Residents are reminded that plowing and or blowing snow from driveways, lanes, sidewalks, etc. onto township or PennDOT roadways is not permitted. Plowing snow from driveways and lanes, across township or PennDOT roadways and leaving snow on the roadway and creating mounds of snow on the shoulder are hazardous, and can be very damaging to township and PennDOT equipment, especially when the snow mounds freeze. Be mindful that the township and PennDOT plow the snow off the travel lanes first, and then clear a buffer on the shoulder, known as Widening and Cleanup, which will open drainage systems and provide a place for snow melt and future snow falls. Obstacles such as fiberglass, wooden or metal posts or barricades or any other item placed in the right of way that impedes snow plowing, widening and cleanup will be removed and disposed of.
Because the post office has certain placement requirements regarding the location of mailboxes, the township does not prohibit property owners from placing mailboxes within the limits of the legal right-of-way. Since these mailboxes are not placed under permit regulations, technically they are encroachments, and remain at the risk of the property owner. Therefore, the township is not liable for damages to mailboxes caused by snow removal when mailboxes are located within the limits of the legal right-of-way. Normally, if mailboxes are placed as far beyond the shoulder of the roadway as the postal worker can reach from his/her vehicle, and the mailbox rests on a firm upper support, the box should be able to withstand the windrow of snow from the plow. Plow operators should exercise care and use slower plowing speeds when working in areas where mailboxes are present to avoid damage, if possible.