Common Maintenance and Construction Activities

May 10, 2017

 NDOT workers doing maintenance work on the Interstate.


Road building, like every other occupation, has its own vocabulary. You may hear us use unfamiliar terms when referring to the work we do out on Nebraska's roads from time to time. The following are some of the most common maintenance and/or construction activities.


Armor Coat - Covering the roadway surface, including shoulders, with asphaltic oil (or emulsion) and mineral aggregate to correct surface deficiencies and to extend the service life of the pavement. Includes preparation and clean-up activities; i.e., sweeping and dusting bleeding bituminous surfaces. A thin covering of gravel is placed after the roadway surface has been sprayed with asphalt. 


Asphalt Patching – Maintenance crews replace asphalt areas that are hazardous.


Chip Seal - A thin layer of crushed aggregate after the roadway has been sprayed with asphalt.


Concrete Patching – Eliminate potential surface hazard by patching concrete roadway surfaces. Includes removing faulty surface sections and base or subgrade material as required and replacing with concrete and required base material. Also includes sawing, cleaning and filling or replacing expansion joints with special material to prevent entry of moisture and debris and to allow proper expansion and contraction of pavement. Includes concrete shoulders. 


Crack Seal - The sealing of cracks in concrete and asphalt pavements with a hot­pour type sealer to prevent entry of moisture and debris.


Deck Repair and Maintenance - Repairing or replacing decks, expansion joints, patching spalled areas, overlaying and repairing with other material as appropriate to restore the deck. Includes timber bridges. 


Grading - The movement of earth needed to construct the project as designed. From a maintenance standpoint, unpaved shoulders are kept level either by moving the existing dirt, or by adding dirt to bring them back to the original design.


Grinding - ­ Diamond grinding to smooth the surface of a concrete pavement.


Fog Seal -  Rejuvenation of the asphalt surface and sealing small cracks and surface voids by spraying emulsions diluted with clean water.


Joint Cutting - Sawing, cleaning and filling or replacing expansion joints with special materials to prevent entry of moisture and debris and to allow proper expansion and contraction of pavement. 


Joint Seal - The replacement of the seal at the transverse and longitudinal joints in concrete pavements with a hot­pour type sealer to prevent entry of moisture and debris.


Photo of NDOT workers doing maintenance work.

Microsurfacing - A thin layer of asphalt slurry material spread to remove rutting and surface irregularities in asphalt pavements.


Minor Milling - Milling bituminous surfaces (by milling with a milling-head attachment or motorgrader) for the purpose of removing bumps or ruts from the roadway. 


Mudjacking - Adjusting Portland cement concrete slabs and structures to restore the grade line by filling the voids beneath the slab with a pumped slurry mix.


Resurfacing - ­ Additional layer of surfacing material placed on top of existing hardsurfaced road to improve rideability and strength of roadway. May include minor widening of roadway and structures.


Road Profiling - Milling bituminous surfaces with a rotomill for the purpose of restoring the roadway to its original shape.


Spot Patching  - Minor patching of small areas on the roadway with hot or cold premix bituminous material and hand-tools to correct abrupt depressions, potholes, edge failures, upheavals and other surface hazards. Includes armor coating of small-patched areas.


Subgrade Repair - Removing and replacing unstable materials to restore highway subgrades to a stable condition. This includes the repair and replacement of surface materials. Correction of frost boils are included in this activity. 


Surfaced Shoulders - Hard surfacing the shoulders of an existing or new hard­surfaced road. Patching and leveling of surfaced shoulder with bituminous material. This will include armor coating of surfaced shoulders after patching and leveling. 




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