Columbia, Mo. (September 2, 2009)—The layer of fabric that has been used on county road construction projects for the last three years is being put to the test during a construction project on Dripping Springs Road in northern Boone County. The Public Works Department wants to determine if paving fabric makes a significant difference on the lifespan of county roads. The fabric is used to reduce reflective cracking of the asphalt and keep water from infiltrating the road base.
Workers will space the rolls of fabric 500 feet apart over the existing asphalt on Dripping Springs from Route V V east to Highway 63. Public Works will monitor the road over several years to see if there are major differences between the parts of the road where the fabric layer was applied and the parts of the road without the material.
The county spends an average of $3 per square yard on the fabric. The square yard cost of fabric is equal to applying approximately a three-fourth-inch of asphalt. For every inch of asphalt, cracks occur at a rate of 1 inch per year. If successful, the paving fabric should reduce cracking and extend the life of the pavement beyond what additional inches of asphalt could provide. The Public Works Department wants to be sure that the initial investment in the fabric saves money for the county in the long run.
“It never hurts to do a test like this,” said Interim Director of Public Works Derin Campbell. “We want to make sure that we are using the best and most cost-effective methods to maintain the roads. This will give us the opportunity to get a clear look at the results.”
Construction began on the road in late August and will continue through September. The need for repairs is largely due to the high volume of traffic on the road. Dripping Springs Road has an average daily traffic count of 1,175 vehicles, many of which are trucks traveling to and from a nearby quarry. Ditching, pipe replacements and a 2-inch asphalt overlay are among the other repairs being done to the road. Christensen Construction of Columbia was awarded the bid on the project for $270,370.00.