Berrien County just dropped a dress size.
And a dress size means less fabric – except in this case. This time, we’re talking about road fabric.
As one may guess, road fabric isn’t like silk or cotton or cashmere. It’s a waterproof membrane that’s placed in between hot mix asphalt layers to keep water from penetrating through. Road fabric is composed of a grid system created by combining “threads” of material. The multidirectional fiber
strands not only act as a waterproofing membrane, but also provide strength to the asphalt.
Piecing it all together
The Berrien County Road Department (BCRD) is using road fabric on two miles of Napier Avenue, a high-traffic road that handles about 18,000 cars a day.
BCRD partnered with members of the asphalt industry to research road fabric and determine whether it was a good fit for the project. Kevin Stack, BCRD engineering supervisor, credits industry relationships as one key to their success.
“As road agencies, we design miles of roadways, and the public puts their trust in us to make sure roads last as long as possible and that we’re effectively spending their tax dollars,” Stack said. “We’re not on a paver, in a lab or at an asphalt plant all day, so that’s where we turn to the asphalt industry for nnovation.”
“Going to industry leaders is a win-win for everyone – taxpayers, road agencies and the industry,” he said.