New asphalt paver to change how county maintains roads

Henry County commissioners approved the purchase of an asphalt paver on Tuesday night. The equipment purchase has far-reaching impacts to improve how the county DOT maintains local roads.

The purchase of a 2019 Caterpillar AP1000F Asphalt Paver from Yancey Bros. of McDonough cost $379,198. The used equipment has less than one-hundred hours of engine time and replaces a 2001 paver owned by the county.

Photo of AP1000F Asphalt Paver (Caterpillar photo)
(Caterpillar photo)

HCDOT will now be able to remill and patch damaged sections of roadway instead of filling potholes. This will be accomplished in 100-200’ sections of roadway by removing the existing asphalt and remixing it back into the roadway. The patching provides a new seal for the road surface to keep water out (more on that in the paragraph below) and preserve the asphalt.

Filling potholes is meant as a temporary measure, and as many residents will attest, they tend to wash out again during the next rain storm. This is because potholes are formed when water seeps through cracks and under the roadway. As vehicles drive over the weakened area, it slowly erodes the soil out from under the asphalt creating a depression and eventual pothole. Once a pothole is formed, water can more easily fall into cracks surrounding it and leads to a larger pothole.

I recommend this nine-minute YouTube video by Practical Engineering if you are interested in learning more about the formation of potholes.

Henry County DOT is responsible for maintaining 1,244 miles of paved roadway and 97 miles of dirt road (February 2020 figures). Although available funding for road resurfacing generally results in only approximately 12–14 miles of county roads being resurfaced each year, the purchase of a modern-day asphalt paver will significantly aid the department in extending the lifespan of existing pavement.