Equipment for Improving Pavement Crack Cleaning Operations
The Caltrans Division of Maintenance continually seeks improved methods and equipment to increase efficiency and worker safety, which in turn supports Caltrans’ mission and goals. The sealing of highway pavement cracks and longitudinal joints has been identified as an area possibly in need of enhancement. Unsealed pavement cracks, either in the form of random stress failure cracking or linear joints, accelerate highway pavement deterioration due to water and debris penetrating the structural section, thereby undermining pavement integrity. According to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) study results, a properly installed, heated application of rubberized asphalt joint seal should remain effective an average of five years. All the major sealant manufacturers recommend the crack or joint be dry and free of all dirt, dust, debris, and vegetation prior to applying their rubberized asphalt sealants for optimum performance. Failure to properly clean a pavement crack or joint may result in the seal failing as soon as one thermal cycle, i.e. in less than one year. Unfortunately, conventional highway pavement crack cleaning techniques are innately labor-intensive and require workers to be on foot and exposed to traffic for prolonged periods of time, which often downgrades crack preparation tasks to low priority in a sealing operation. Caltrans Maintenance is interested in a broad look at equipment used by other state transportation agencies, as well as any recent innovations in crack cleaning technologies that may be utilized by Caltrans Maintenance to enhance highway sealing operations and thereby improve pavement maintainability statewide.