1-800-SWEEPER Blog

Road Friction Aggregate Application Creates Unique Specialized Cleanup Opportunity

Apr 19, 2017

Road Friction Aggregate Application Creates Unique Specialized Cleanup Opportunity

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From portable water truck services and pavement striping to complete parking deck scrubbing equipment, multiple Partners in the 1-800-SWEEPER workforce have developed high value services and products that they now offer. It is important for fellow power sweeping contractors to take note and determine if there may be a niche in your market to provide additional service and income opportunities throughout the year or during what might otherwise be a slower season of the year.

An interesting example recently came to light when Pete Phillips introduced us to a specialized service that keeps his Clean Sweep Inc. crew working together with a local paving contractor. The project was initiated when Pete was contacted by a paving company (via a lead form from the 1800SWEEPER.com website) to see if he could help develop an aggregate recovery solution. Alabama Department of Transportation contracts with the paving company to add a layer of high friction material on bridges and roadways to enhance drivers’ stopping ability. Although Clean Sweep initially was contacted to efficiently clean the road surface prior to the application of the high friction material, their work evolved into reclamation of still-usable friction material that did not bind with the epoxy following the treatment.

As Pete explains the operation, the road surfacing contractor has a multi-step approach to adding the friction material as an overlay system on top of existing concrete bridge decks. The finished overlay surface provides significantly better (shorter) stopping distances – causing fewer accidents.  The high friction treatment provides a uniform texture and does not change the existing bridge deck slopes.

Clean Sweep is involved in the entire prep through finishing work, starting when the road contractor begins pre-treatment of the concrete surface. The Clean Sweep crew’s initial work follows the contractor “cleaning” the deck surface by shot blasting and other mechanical means (diamond grinding, hand grinding) to prepare the deck surface before placement of the epoxy concrete overlay. The goal: remove all asphaltic material, oils, dirt, rubber, curing compounds, paint, carbonation, weak surface mortar and other materials, that may interfere with the bonding or curing of the pre-treatment or epoxy overlay.

Two passes of epoxy resin and aggregate are applied to the surface with sufficient cure times between applications to allow both adhesion to the bridge deck and adhesive bond of the friction material to the epoxy.

Because timing is critical, the contractor’s epoxy crew cannot apply a new course of epoxy concrete overlay until vacuuming or broom sweeping has been accomplished.  During these multiple steps, the installing contractor relies on the Clean Sweep personnel to be in direct contact and ready to sweep as quickly as possible following the appropriate curing times. In addition, coordination between the two companies is critical to confirm that sweeping can be performed without tearing or damaging the surface.

Now comes the money-saving part of the operation. By creating a unified system for recovery of clean, reusable aggregate, Pete was able to help the paving contractor reduce expenses on the friction material installation process.

Through tight scheduling and several key modifications to his sweepers, Pete has figured out a way to capture and retain for re-use, a significant portion of loose aggregate (non-adhering friction material) after the curing period.

By carefully sweeping the bridge deck surface and collecting all available aggregate, Clean Sweep operators can fill bulk bags with the loose material returning it to the paving contractor. It was estimated that each container of aggregate cost tax payers approximately $1,000.  In one example that illustrates cost savings on the project, on the final day of application and recovery, the paving contractor laid down eight containers of aggregate; Clean Sweep, Inc. recovered five of those containers for reuse on another project.

Prior to Clean Sweep being contracted, Alabama DOT reported that this aggregate was simply “blown” off the road to rest in the grass and make its way down into the soil at the side of the road.  The savings in reusable friction stones – as opposed to discarding that material– covers the cost of Pete’s crew. That makes the whole operation a financial win-win-win for Clean Sweep Inc, taxpayers and the paving contractor!

Photo Gallery High Friction Surface Treatment – Aggregate Recovery

Clean Sweep, Inc. provides aggregate recovery solutions to paving company contracted by the Alabama Department of Transportation to save tax payer expenses.