Garden Diary - August 2009

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Tuesday, 11 August, 2009
Driveway Repair

Just over a week ago when the second big storm of the summer came flooding through our neighborhood
it severely damaged our driveway. Today's the day when Marty Pfenninger and his Pavex crew arrived
and and spent 6 hours making a thorough job of the necessary repairs to 200 feet of the driveway.

copyright Paul Glattstein 2009

Just 7:30 a.m. and the convoy of trucks and equipment is here, ready to go to work.
Box truck, two huge dump trucks, low-boy with expensive spreader, a back-hoe, roller,
and other accessories - tamper / vibrating compactor, hoses, hand tools, and crew.

First things first. Before starting work on the driveway repair, Marty graciously took care
of a couple of minor items. Minor, that is, with a big boy's Tonka toy, much more effort
if I were out there with a pick and shovel. First - a swale at the toe of a slope.

It's behind the house so in heavy storms water runs down and collects
at the bottom. Marty quickly and exceedingly neatly dug a ditch
that now feeds into a permanent ditch-and-culvert that goes under
the driveway. When I complimented him on his maestro skills with
a backhoe Marty opined that he'd better be good after the thousands
of hours he had at the controls. Also impressive, how well cared for
all of his equipment is. That's a reliable sign of a careful workman.

And after Marty finished the ditch-digging with his backhoe,
two of his crew fine-tuned the results with shovels. Well done.

Here's the finished ditch. Now it needs heavy-duty landscape fabric
and stone to collect runoff and keep it from collapsing the trench.

Next, Marty started to clean out the existing permanent ditch
that leads to the under driveway culvert. It had choked with soil
and stone to the level of the driveway so the culvert was useless.

Marty had to send someone down into the excavation in order
to locate the culvert. Just look how deeply it was buried.

Now that those fiddle-y bits were taken care of, it was time to work on
the damaged driveway. Step one, cut an edge at the beginning and end of
the area to be repaved, then break up and remove the damaged asphalt.

copyright Paul Glattstein 2009

It all goes back to the hot mix asphalt plant, to be sold for reuse. From 10 to 25% reclaimed asphalt
is mixed with new material, paving new roads, roadbeds, shoulders and embankments. Nationwide, it's an
impressive recycling rate of 80 percent: of the 100.1 million tons of the asphalt pavement removed
each year, 80.3 million tons are reused. My biweekly bucket of tin cans, glass, and plastic seems puny.

After the old asphalt is broken up and removed the base is leveled. Next,
the sub-base of crushed stone and stone dust is loaded into the spreader.

The machine deposits it across the width of the driveway in one pass,
with the crew spreading the material with coarse toothed rake and
flat-bottomed shovels, after which it is lightly tamped to compact it.

Then comes the hot asphalt. Quickly now. Get it spread

copyright Paul Glattstein 2009


copyright Paul Glattstein 2009

The entire portion must be covered, load after load, for a seamless surface. In all, 34 tons of asphalt.

Next step is to get the roller out and compact the asphalt along the 196 foot length of the repair.

After which a vibrating compaction unit is guided back and forth across the width of the driveway.
Water is sprayed ahead of the machine. And on the soles of the worker's shoes. Hot, the asphalt is hot.

Done. Give it a couple of days to cure, and we can again drive up
from street to house. Oh joy! no longer pushing a garden cart loaded
with groceries and library books up from street to house. Happy days!

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