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Today’s ag report: Asphalt

We can only install it during certain times of year.
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 5:39 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Hi there, and welcome to today’s ag report where we explore stories and ideas that demonstrate that agriculture happens on more than just the farm and today we are talking about the weather and its impact on construction and specifically laying asphalt.

“Asphalt has a pretty large range of when it can be installed. You want it to be 50º and rising, but not hotter than 90º. Not only for the asphalt but for the guys out there. Safety being important as you don’t want guys out there in the scorching heat laying very hot asphalt.”

And that asphalt is very hot, around 300º, as it comes off the machine. Since asphalt has a certain range of temperatures it can be installed in the midwest as a smaller window of the year to use it, typically late Spring to early November. It also means the longer winters have an impact on how long it lasts.

“If you go to the coasts where it is warmer, they don’t get the fluctuations between winter and summer, that freeze-thaw, is really we joke, why we have road construction season. "

Aside from temperatures rain is the other main factor in laying asphalt.

“Asphalt is an oil-based material, so if it rains the oil will float on top of the water and that is how you get potholes, especially if you let it sit there for multiple days. Since it does cure so quickly, you don’t want anything affecting it when it is coming out of the machine. "

While weather plays a major role it’s not it is the chief concern when laying asphalt.

“The most important thing is really the sub-base, which is not something you might think about. We mill down the 2” down to what we are seeing now and that tells us the story of how the project is going to go. We will find cracks and potholes that you can’t see underneath the asphalt..”

Once the sub-base is ready to go, it doesn’t take long to lay. You can walk on it right afterward and the asphalt is ready to drive on 24 hours later. Another reason why asphalt has some advantages is its reusability.

“A lot of this is recycled asphalt already a good majority of it actually, You can mill the asphalt and put it through the machine again, through the plant and pour it back down. So that carbon footprint is a little lower than other materials. "

So the next time you see workers laying asphalt they may be using some you’ve driven on already. That’s it for this week’s ag report.

Go ahead and go try it for yourself! If you have any questions feel free to drop us a line at news@kwqc.com

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