Here are 7 reasons why road work takes so long:
- Some work is easier to do at night.
- Utility companies need to move their facilities.
- Installing drainage facilities is time-consuming.
- Median retaining walls need to be built.
- The concrete pavement needs time to cure.
- Workers need to install other parts.
- Striping the roadway needs more than one coat.
1. Some Work Is Easier To Do at NightTraffic is generally much less congested at night, giving workers a little more flexibility during their shift. However, they still need to be careful because nighttime also commonly comes with faster or impaired drivers. Working at night also allows workers not to worry about delays due to traffic. Beyond that, there are specific parts of the job that are more practical to do at night. For example, raising new highway signs or street lights is much easier when there’s less traffic on the road. With that said, it’s crucial to respect night shift workers while you’re on the road. For starters, don’t use your brights/floodlights unless it’s foggy outside. Using them unnecessarily can temporarily impair the workers’ vision and put them in danger. Also, if you know there is active road work in a particular area, it’s essential to follow the same road rules as you would during the day. If there are flaggers, follow their directions and be mindful of speed limits to keep workers safe.
2. Utility Companies Need To Move Their FacilitiesDuring the project, the person in charge overseeing construction needs to coordinate with whichever utility companies have jurisdiction in the area they’re working. There may be underground pipes or electrical lines that need to be removed before the construction can begin. Beyond that, utility companies may also need to participate actively if their field of work is part of the project. This work may include raising light poles on the highway or installing traffic lights on city streets. It’s also necessary for construction to heed this step because failing to do so may mean they burst an underground gas line. Depending on the results of an initial utility inspection, the road construction timeline may need to extend. If gas, electrical, or water lines need relocating, this can potentially add weeks or months to a construction project.
3. Installing Drainage Facilities Is Time-ConsumingOn top of working with utility companies, installing proper road drainage facilities can be time-consuming too. The of a road drainage system is to help prevent the road from flooding.
There are two parts of a road drainage system: dewatering and drainage. The dewatering aspect of the system removes rainwater from the surface of the road. The drainage, on the other hand, consists of the infrastructure that keeps the road dry.The pavement, or the top layer of the road, essentially works as a waterproof barrier for the infrastructure underneath. Side ditches also need to be dug to catch water and let it absorb back into the ground. However, ditches aren’t always necessary. For city roadwork, it’s easier to rely on nearby sewer and water grates. If a side ditch is necessary, an outlet ditch is likely also needed for proper drainage, which are side ditches for the side ditch. Their job is to lead water away from the side ditch and into an existing watering system. The emptying system is typically a natural body of water or a sewer. The drainage system may also need a culvert to help lead water to a sewage system or waterway. A culvert is a special pipe that connects to underground channels. Regardless of the drainage system needed for a specific area, multiple layers need building, and each layer needs time to settle before moving on.
4. Median Retaining Walls Need To Be BuiltMedian retaining walls are crucial for highway construction, as they separate ramps from middle lanes, and they also separate traffic patterns. Although traffic could operate without them, median walls are much safer as drivers can see them better than a line in the road. These concrete walls are also necessary as a temporary safety measure during construction projects. Although they tack time onto a specific project, a concrete median wall is more effective at keeping highway construction workers safe than an orange barrel.
5. The Concrete Pavement Needs Time To CureOnce the “pre-construction” tasks finish, the actual laying of concrete pavement begins. Laying pavement is typically the longest part of the process as there are of concrete needed before workers can mark it as complete:
- Sub-grade: The sub-grade is the layer of native soil that lies underneath the other three layers. Making sure this part is level is integral in pouring a level concrete slab. Because of this, completing this step can take a long time.
- Sub-base: The sub-base is the layer of aggregate materials that are placed on top of the sub-grade. This level may also consist of gravel or other crushed-up recycled materials.
- Base course: The base course is the level poured directly on top of the gravel or other materials in the sub-grade. This layer consists of similar materials to the sub-grade. However, it’s typically before it’s poured.
- Surface course: The surface course is the outermost layer of the road. It’s most commonly made of concrete or asphalt and serves as the waterproof layer of the highway or city street.