Curbside Construction: Carnuba Wax for the Highway

Ah, summer time.  The time of year I most enjoy, the time of year that brings about backyard barbecues, fresh peaches, and less confining clothes.  It truly is a beautiful time and thoughts of the dreariness of winter are scorned and banished from conversation.

Yet there are other summertime events that many scorn and want to banish simply because it is perceived as an annoyance.  You know, things like mosquitos, humidity, and road construction.  There are benefits of each, but few want to acknowledge them as such.  What are the benefits?  Well, since by its very name, Curbside Classic would preclude mosquitos and humidity, let’s discuss the virtues of road construction.

My daytime job allows me to cover quite a large area, so I’m currently seeing a lot of construction projects.  One day recently while traveling the hills and hollers south of I-44, I came upon a wee bit of road construction.  To be more accurate, it was road maintenance.   There is a distinct difference.  So I stopped, talked, and got some pictures.  A fascinating process it was.

I talked at length to a gentleman named Pat.  A delightful, no-nonsense fellow, he was in charge of the operation.  He told me they were chip-sealing the road.  Pat said to think of a road like you would your car – both need periodic maintenance and it’s a lot easier to maintain a road that is in good condition than one that has deteriorated.  He said this process is like waxing your car or putting on suntan lotion as either will block out the bad.  The oil keeps the water out and the rock gives you friction to drive on.

Here’s the step by step process.  And it is quite choreographed.

After the road is swept, a distributor will shoot oil.  Here it is spraying oil at a rate of 0.26 gallons per square yard.  Pat knew his stuff.

Right on the tail of the distributor is a chip spreader.  The head is adjustable in width and was applying rock at 11.5 pounds per square yard.  The spreader will pull the truck while it is dumping.

The trucks dump into the back of the chip spreader.  A belt brings the rock to the front.

After the rock is placed, it is rolled down.

Four rollers, you ask?  Pat said that was to allow one pass and for safety.  With one pass, the rollers don’t have to go back and forth or go as quickly.  This operation moved quite rapidly and the road can be driven on within minutes after the material is placed.

The day I was there, Pat said there were four distributors and seventeen dump trucks in the operation.

So even though these machines aren’t the typical Curbside Classic, these machines aren’t plentiful and they help the Curbside Classics in the area (and there were many) go where they need to go.