What is Microsurfacing?
As the Borough continues to make investment in its infrastructure, the most visible investment seen by residents is the recent and ongoing roadwork. But what is microsurfacing? For starters, it is not the same as milling and repaving a road. When a completely deteriorated and deficient roadway is milled and repaved, it creates a brand new surface profile; however, the purpose of micro-surfacing roads is to extend the life of a functional roadway, not recreate it.
Micro-surfacing creates a protective layer on the roadway which preserves the underlying structure of the road. The improved surface prevents deterioration, water penetration as well as sub base failure ... in short, it assures that the roadway does not weaken with exposure to sun, rain and vehicular traffic. This preventative measure lessens the need for more extensive and expensive repairs in the future. Additionally, micro-surfacing sets quickly minimizing road closures and detour routes within the Borough.
ADVANTAGES OF MICROSURFACING
Cost Effectiveness: micro-surfacing costs are approximately one-third the costs of a pure blacktop overlay and, while slightly more expensive than a slurry seal or a tar and chip, it produces a far better product than both for blacktop roadways.
Easy Application: due to the thin depth of the micro-surfacing, no milling or utility adjustments are necessary, thereby further reducing the costs.
Extending the Life of the Asphalt: micro-surfacing extends the pavement’s life at least 5-7 years. Suitability for low volume roads: due to the thin depth of the surface, the material has minimal structural enhancement capabilities, but works exceptionally well for low volume roads like subdivisions with aging pavements.
CONCERNS WITH MICROSURFACING
Smoothness: immediately following installation of the material, the road may not feel as smooth as a new blacktop roadway. However, as traffic drives over it and the sun heats the pavement during the hot summer days, the asphalt will begin to smooth itself out.
Stones: immediately following installation of the new surface, the material will appear to be “falling apart” due to the number of small stones that will be present. These small stones are added to the micro-surfacing mix to provide additional durability and increase skid resistance. Since the depth of the mix is so shallow, many of the stones will not adhere and will need to be removed. In order to allow the material to completely set up, the contractor will wait 10 days and then return to perform this sweeping operation.