Save California Streets – 2019 Roads: Efficient and Sustainable Road Maintenance, Construction, and Reconstruction Projects Award
American Society of Civil Engineers, Sacramento Section – 2018 Sustainable Engineering Project of the Year
Low-Maintenance Paving Resists Rutting and Shoving while Minimizing Heat Island Effect
The City of Roseville’s 2018 Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) Pilot Project reconstructed more than two miles of existing asphalt pavement roadway with RCC in multiple locations. Three diverse roadways were chosen for the pilot project. Washington Boulevard is a five-lane arterial, Atkinson Street is a two-lane collector road, and Hickory Street is a quiet, residential street.
The three roadways rehabilitated by the project were originally constructed in the early to mid-1900s. Atkinson Street runs adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad near the largest rail yard on the West Coast. Atkinson Street (which was originally named PFE or the Pacific Fruit Express) and Hickory Street were built in the early 1900s as the City of Roseville developed around the railroad and rail yard. Surrounded by the rich, agricultural lands of Placer County, the rail yard and Atkinson Street were used to deliver produce around the country. Washington Boulevard was part of the original Highway 65 built in the 1940s. Eventually the new Highway 65 was built, and a widened Washington Boulevard was constructed piece by piece as Roseville continued to develop. This fragmented construction resulted in several different pavement conditions across the width of the road.
Potholing and roughness were a frequent complaint as area residents regularly made requests to the City to rehabilitate these roads. The streets required regular maintenance and the City repeatedly had to send crews to make repairs.
The City sought to alleviate any concerns expressed by residents regarding the change from a familiar asphalt pavement to a new concrete pavement. A public meeting was held to survey the residents impacted by the project to determine if they were agreeable to having the City test the innovative pavement. There was unanimous response in favor of the project.
Rapid construction was necessary to minimize impacts to schools and businesses. Construction was phased on Washington Boulevard so that work adjacent to George A. Buljan Middle School was completed by the time school started in the fall.
The City coordinated with Denio’s Market, a large community marketplace that operates on the weekends and is adjacent to Atkinson Street, to minimize construction impacts on their business and traffic flow in the area on the weekends. Sidewalks were kept open during construction for public observation and the City hosted a tour of the paving process for area public works departments.
Challenges and Solutions
During design the largest challenge was producing a construction staging plan for Atkinson Street that would allow the roadway to accommodate the traffic for Denio’s Market. Our project team coordinated with Denio’s Market to determine when the road needed to be open for their customers on the weekend. Then, working with our industry partners, we were able to develop a staging plan that met the needs of the market and the City while also being biddable and buildable. Before construction began, the team developed a concrete mix design that was able to reach the City’s specification of at least 2,500 psi unconfined compressive strength within two days allowing the roads to be opened to traffic quickly.
During construction in the summer of 2018 the ambient air temperature reached 108˚F during the day. A concern was that the heat might affect concrete curing. Covered haul trucks, increased curing compound application rates, and paving at night were implemented to counter the heat’s impacts.
Benefits of Roller Compacted Concrete Pavement
Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) blends the speed and cost savings of asphalt construction with the longevity and environmental benefits of concrete pavement. Although the upfront costs for RCC are similar to an asphalt pavement, the overall lifetime cost of RCC is less than asphalt due to reduced maintenance costs throughout the pavement’s useful life. Furthermore, RCC can be ready for traffic in as little as two days versus the 10 days typically required for conventional concrete. RCC can also receive cross traffic almost immediately after being paved, making it a viable option for pavement rehabilitation projects along roadways with frequent commercial driveways.
With a 50-year pavement life, RCC’s lifecycle is more than double that of asphalt, at 20-years. In addition to durability, RCC offers reduced maintenance. While asphalt pavement requires surface treatments—either crack sealing, slurry seal, or microsurfacing—approximately every seven years, with RCC, the first maintenance typically occurs after 20 years when it may need pavement smoothing and spot panel replacement. Less maintenance results in fewer road closures; increasing safety for drivers and road crews. Concrete pavement is also lighter in color than asphalt, requiring less lighting and enabling better visibility at night.
RCC, as a light colored pavement, reduces the heat island effect in urban settings caused by asphalt pavements heating up in the sun. Less maintenance results in lower energy costs required for the pavement over its lifetime versus asphalt pavement. In addition, studies indicate there is a slight increase in miles-per-gallon while driving on a concrete road due to its rigidity. Finally, RCC reduces the use of the oil and petroleum used in in binders and emulsions for asphalt pavements.
Only a few Northern California streets have used this innovative and cost-effective pavement method. The City of Roseville project was sizable, repaving approximately 2.5 miles of roadway, including the first residential street and first five-lane arterial in the region. Other public works departments in the region are observing the outcome of this project before proceeding on their own. A site visit during construction, sponsored by the local APWA chapter and hosted by the City, drew more than 75 people from public agencies and engineering firms.
The project demonstrates the viability of roller compacted concrete pavement in Roseville. encourages developers to use these longer-lasting concrete roads for future City infrastructure. Building RCC roadways will ultimately reduce City maintenance costs and costs to City taxpayers.
A Collaborative Effort
The Roller Compacted Concrete Project would not have been possible without the City’s collaboration with industry experts, suppliers, design engineers, and construction contractors. The design team traveled to Kansas and Texas to visit actual sites where RCC was implemented successfully. A multi-state team from Texas, Arizona, and South Carolina collaborated to develop new standards and specifications for RCC. The City of Roseville is making all specifications, designs, plans, and bid results available to other agencies.