Our ever-changing roads – why the tarmac landscape is evolving
Any consistent road user across Europe, and probably beyond, will notice that our roads are evolving all of the time. It’s not just when new routes are added to the road network, or repair works are carried out to damaged carriageways, but the way our roads are marked or even coloured is changing.
With more road users than ever before, and in a range of vehicles, such as cars, buses, heavy vehicles and indeed motorbike or bicycles, there is a growing need to clearly and quickly define what vehicles can go where, particularly in more urban areas where signage is sometimes not able to be as clear as it might otherwise be. One way of doing this is by colour coding. With designated lanes for buses, or car-pooling, which are coloured to ensure they are clear, road authorities can ensure that roads are being used appropriately and safely by all.
Painting the roads
When the decision is made the change the colour of the carriageway, it’s not quite as simple as finding a can of emulsion in the local DIY store and pouring it on the road surface. Roads are subject to heavy daily use and must therefore withstand not just the vehicles going over them but a range of weather conditions from the very hot to below freezing. They must also maintain their safety, and so the paint must not affect the adhesion of the tyres of a vehicle to the new road surface. With specialist paints manufactured and provided by companies such as Geveko Markings, road authorities can ensure that their roads will not only be the right colour, but maintain their safety and high-performance.
Looking after the highway
Inevitably, regardless of the markings on the road, or the level of maintenance that local authorities undertake, our roads will become damaged through use, wear and weather conditions. When this happens, it can be costly and time-consuming and, depending on the severity of the damage, can lead to disruption for road users.
The development of composite materials which provide temporary solutions to road repairs is one which has raced ahead in recent years as companies and authorities work to try to keep roads in good repair and costs down. It also allows roads to be repaired on an interim basis before more major scheduled works take place, and prevent further damage to the road surface or the foundations of the road, by sealing off any holes or cracks.
With changes in the way we use the roads and weather conditions, simply filling holes in the road with tarmac no longer provides a stable or affordable solutions, which is why companies are coming up with other solutions for road repair. Thermoplastics, for example, which are applied hot to road surfaces, are an affordable and time-effective way to both fill potholes in the roads as well as seal off any cracks or holes and thus preventing further damage and a more costly and disruptive major repair.
With an ever-changing road landscape, those who create the materials for looking after and decorating our roads are also evolving ways to keep the roads open, in good repair, safe and visible.