Many of the activities we perform on paved roadways make sense in an obvious way. For example, patching a pothole is something most everyone know needs fixed and most drivers know why. However, an activity we call 'shouldering' can be a little more challenging to figure out what is happening.
We do most of our shouldering work in the spring and fall when natural moisture in the roadside gravel helps us get things done - not too wet and not too dry. This activity is important to both maintain the asphalt on the road as well as provide a safe opportunity for vehicles to recover should they drift off of the pavement. During this activity, graders pull rock material from the shoulder of the roadway back up onto the pavement. They then grade the rock back over the edge of the pavement, roll it usually with a truck tire to compact it, and then sweep the road off to finish. Sometimes crews will add new rock to certain locations based on the conditions.
Performing this activity provides a smooth transition from the asphalt to the gravel, with little, to no drop-off. The process results in less damage to the edge of the pavement, as without good shoulders the pavement edge will begin to fall away (literally), causing cracking in the asphalt surface, etc. A nice transition also helps with drainage when it is raining. And most importantly, as mentioned previously, it is also for safety in helping prevent accidents with vehicles which may drift off the pavement. Too much of a drop-off at the pavement edge can result in over-correction when a driver tries to get their wheels back on the asphalt and can lead to serious accidents.
This somewhat odd activity is important work to maintain our roads, provide a safe driving surface and saves the county money in the long run.
Have questions about the work we do? Please contact us.