Do you know what equipment they use in road and highway construction?

You might have seen them lined up onsite moving earth, or lifting boulders and pouring concrete as workers fix or build roads and highways in the different states in the country.

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Workers use construction equipment to widen the Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Tikri north of Jammu September 20 2011 REUTERSMukesh GuptaFiles
Road and bridge construction requires a number of equipment.

Missouri: Roads And Bridges Beyond Repair
In Missouri, state transportation officials believe that the day will come when the state can no longer fix its roads, highways, and bridges. And despite the earlier warnings issued on such a scenario, no easy solution has been laid out on the table to date. If you are to ask Dave Nichols, the state Department of Transportation director, he’d paint you a bleak picture of the state’s highway system’s future. Why? That’s because the transportation budget of Missouri is expected to shrink so much in two years that only a tiny fraction of the 34,000 miles of roads of the state will get proper upkeep. The remaining 26,000 miles of roadways throughout the state will get minimal attention.

But if the state is able to do something about the budget to allocate for road and bridge construction, Missouri would definitely see a lot of construction work on the roads along with the huge and heavy equipment needed for the work.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is replacing the US 40 bridge over the Blue River along Interstate 70 east of downtown On Wednesday Clarkson Construction Co workers were setting forms on a pier near the river
The condition of the various roads and bridges in Missouri is believed to have reached a point where roads, bridges, and highways could be beyond repair.

Three Phases Of Road And Highway Construction
First, understand that road and highway construction basically consists of 3 phases, namely:

  • Earthmoving or rough grading
  • Sub-grade preparation and fine grading
  • Surfacing includes concrete, asphalt, gravel, or any combination of the three

A major element of all road and highway construction is compaction – of basic fill, asphalt, and gravels that will ensure maximum life of the road structure. And key to the quality of road construction is the capability of the operators to perform their work in a manner that will provide maximum compaction. This means that the operators must have the ability to grade surfaces to very fine tolerances, a great skill requirement for an operator.

The compaction process required changing the moisture level in the material being compacted. Water trucks and graders may be used to add moisture while discs, graders, and mixers are used to reduce moisture levels. The machines being used today in road construction can produce large quantities of paved surfaces in an incredibly quick time.

Road And Bridge Equipment
What are some types of construction equipment used in road and highway construction?  Here is a list of some equipment that the state of Missouri might use should they get the budget funds they need:

Air Track Drill
This machine is often used for quarrying or opencast blasting, with tracks and operated by independent air motors.

Chip Spreader
This equipment is used to lay down the aggregate on top of a bituminous binder after which it is rolled by a compactor.

Cold Planers
Others call this equipment pavement recycler, mill or asphalt milling, or pavement planer which is used when asphalt pavement or concrete from roadways are to be removed. A rotating head is brought in contact with the pavement at an exact slope or depth, and bites at the roadway surface. Structures near the road construction site should have vibration isolators mounts in order to manage the vibration caused by the equipment tearing away at the road surface. The removed surface material is then fed into a dump truck through a conveyor.

Vibratory Steel Drum Compactor
This equipment is used in the construction of roads and foundations to compact:

  • Soil
  • Concrete
  • Gravel
  • Asphalt

By compressing the surface being rolled, a smooth and even surface is achieved. This machine or equipment is also used for asphalt pavements that need to be compacted as they can become dense faster.

Pneumatic Tired Roller
This equipment is used on small to medium-sized compaction jobs, mainly on granular and bladed base materials. It is not, however, suitable for compaction projects that are thick lift embankments. The advantage of this equipment is that it can be used on soil and asphalt. This means that the building contractor can use one piece of equipment for the base and the asphalt – two stages of construction.

These are just some of the equipment you are likely to see when roads are being repaired or constructed.

Have you seen any of this equipment while at work in your community?

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1 thought on “Equipment 101: What Roads And Bridges Need Budgets For?”

  1. I heard the Missouri Department of Transportation unveiled a plan as a way to take care of Missouri’s roads and bridges when its construction budget drops to $325 million in 2017. This action truly sets the stage to transform Missouri’s transportation system and dramatically change the way they do business. After years of making great progress on the condition of Missouri’s highways, they now face a future of watching our roads and bridges deteriorate.

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