One of the largest challenges of maintaining roads in the province is the fluctuation of temperatures throughout the year. Roads tend to be softer in the summer and become brittle in the winter, causing poor conditions.
Haithem Soliman has a PhD in pavement materials and a research project he has been working on since 2017 could improve the longevity of roads in Saskatchewan.
The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) professor has been testing tack coat materials — the layer used between old and new asphalt. Different tack coat materials have been used in a variety of core samples, which are taken from Highway 12 near Blaine Lake, Sask.
Soliman tests the samples at his lab with environmental chambers. The results from the five-year-long project could reduce the amount of road maintenance needed in Saskatoon.
“When we put this material in the road, it will last for our target design life,” Soliman said.
The City of Saskatoon has also taken measures to efficiently maintain roads. Since 2014, 1,221 lane kilometres of road have been improved.
A new crack sealing technique has been used to prevent water from going into the road surface.
“With this new technique, you router out the pavement. It provides for a larger depth to go for the oil product to penetrate into the road,” said Terry Schmidt, the city’s general manager of transportation.
Schmidt said the new preventative treatments could make roads last up to 20 years before needing repairs.
The city also looks forward to hearing the findings of Soliman’s research, which will be completed in 2022.