When you were a kid, did you ever get excited about building something out of Legos, Lincoln Logs or an Erector Set? It’s probably because the manufacturers of those toys made it easy for you to build your castle, cabin or structure. The pieces were custom-made for the project you were working on, came ready to be assembled, went together quickly and, best of all, you could enjoy your finished product the minute you were done. Call it the excitement of immediate gratification. Can that kind of positive “excitement” be found in the rather mundane field of road repairs?
For DOTs, engineers and contractors working in road construction, the precast concrete industry has just the product to rekindle that sense of immediate gratification. Precast Concrete Pavement Systems (PCPS) are a custom-designed solution for streets, highways and intersections that enable road construction contractors to complete repairs quickly, easily, and virtually eliminate road closures and long traffic delays – along with all those aggravating orange barrels.
There are several patented systems across the country that all have their own unique processes, but the general concept is the same across the board:
• Evaluate the project site and design the template for the paving slabs;
• Begin casting and curing slabs off-site before any road repair begins;
• Remove sections of damaged roadway that can be replaced in one day during off-peak traffic hours;
• Deliver, install and level the precast slabs using a crane and various leveling methods;
• Reopen the road to traffic in as little as 15 minutes following PCPS placement – usually with no interference to rush-hour traffic;
• Repeat the process until the project is completed.
In addition to keeping the customer happy with rapid repairs and serving the driving public with fewer delays, precast pavement systems are very durable with an expected lifespan in excess of 50 years. Produced in quality-controlled environments with strict quality control and testing guidelines in place, these slabs are designed to last.
Successfully used in Europe for many years, the various systems available across the United States have now been tested extensively on everything from city streets to busy highways and have been used in projects ranging from installation of a handful of slabs to long stretches of roadway. PCPSs are custom-made integrated components that offer all the speed and service life to “excite” everyone – from DOTs to folks in a hurry to get home.
To learn more about Precast Concrete Pavement Systems and to find precast plants that produce them in your area, visit the NPCA website at www.precast.org. Use the search box in the upper right of the web page to find more information, or click on the “Find a Precaster or Associate” button.
Kirk Stelsel is NPCA’s assistant director of Communication.