Asphalt Driveway Over Gravel: Why The Gravel ?

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On 8/31/2010 6:27 AM, Jim Elbrecht wrote:

That is how I grew up using the name. Macadam meant Asphalt. I used the word Macadam around some friends a few years ago and got strange looks and questions, that's when I looked it up.
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wrote:

Huh. I'm late 50s in upstate NY and that's what EVERYone around here calls it, both younger and my age. Or, at least, I've never had any strange looks or questions. Probably because I'm in the boonies. I'll admit, though, "Red Asphalt" is a sexier title for a drivers' ed video than "Red Macadam".
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The asphalt material is slightly pliable. The surface underneath needs to be a hard compacted surface -- I think it is compacted modified stone (or something like that). That creates a solid surface for the asphalt material. The first layer of asphalt material needs to also be compacted with at least a 5,000 pound roller and is called a stabilizing layer. Then a second coat of asphalt goes on top of that and is compacted.
Bob wrote:

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If you don't put something down first and compact it, you will have a roller coaster surface once traffic has run on it a year or so.
Steve
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The enemy of a road, driveway or parking lot is water under the surface. The inevitable vertical movement of the surface, when a vehicle passes over it, creates what's called "Pumping" of the dirt under the pavement. It liquefies dirt, clay or other fine material, removing even more support for the surface layer with the inevitable cascading result of alligatoring and pot holes. Compacted and drained stone doesn't lose support for the surface when moved about by traffic and if the water can be turned away at the surface level, then the underlying dirt doesn't liquefy. Just as important as the water-turning ability of the road surface is the ability for the water that makes it through to escape. That's why there are ditches and stone underlayment. They're just as important in draining out water under the roadway as they are to carry off rainwater to prevent roadway flooding.
I know of at least one very long stretch of an Interstate highway where the designers failed to understand this. The cure was to trench deeply alongside the concrete roadway of both lanes, on both sides, install drain tile and then backfill with coarse stone to carry the undersurface water to ditches.
By the way, expansive soils are also an enemy of roads, just as they are an enemy of basements. One lady, who was an NCSU graduate engineer, didn't understand what expansive soils were and approved an entire highway interchange to be constructed using expansive soil for the ramps. It never even opened before the concrete began to crack and fail.
Micajah

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