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Highway Safety: The Use Of The Open-Graded Friction Course Pavement Technique

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Water from rain and snow melt is considered to be one of the top dangers drivers face when driving on the open road. The water can pool up on the road and cause your vehicle to hydroplane over the top of it. Hydroplaning causes you to temporarily lose control of your car as it slides down the highway on the surface of the water where you can easily end up in a ditch or crash into another vehicle. The open-graded friction course (OGFC) paving technique makes it easier for the rain water to drain off of the highway so you can control your car. Here is how the OGFC asphalt paving technique works to make highways safer and what the future may hold.

Construction Method

The main difference between open-graded pavement and traditional pavement is the size of the stone used to build the top surface of the highway. The open-grade pavement technique is achieved by using larger sized stone than what has traditional been used for the surface of a highway. The larger sized stone surface is more porous than a pavement made using smaller sized stone. The porousness allows the water to permeate the gaps between the stone and flow off the highway easier and faster than an impervious surface does. Less water on a highway increases the ability of drivers to maintain control of their cars when it's wet outside.

Limitation of Open-Grade Pavement

You should not assume that open-grade pavement is being used everywhere as you drive across the country. There are some climates where the rubber asphalt base that is used to place the stones over can freeze and crack during the winter. Open-grade pavement also doesn't work well where local and state highway departments use things like sand to cover the ice on the roads during the winter. The sand tends to plug up the air spaces between stones and interrupts the ability of water from rain and melting snow to drain off the highway. 

Future of OGFC

Although the use of OGFC does work effectively at preventing standing water from resting on the highway and increasing highway safety, the process of using this technique is proving to be costly. Researchers are looking for better ways to lengthen the lifespan of highways paved with the OGFC technique by adjusting the polymers and material used to hold the road together. This issue of cost and longevity needs to be solved before widespread use of this paving technique will be fully accepted by federal, state and local governments. Contact a company like R Williams Paving LLC for more information.


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