Keeping Las Vegas Roads in Pristine Shape

In 2008, Eric M. Reimschiissel, manager of the Pavement Maintenance Division of the American Asphalt & Grading Co., completed the largest slurry seal project for the City of Las Vegas, and as far as Reimschiissel knows, maybe the largest slurry seal project ever bid in the country.

During the spring and fall road maintenance schedule established by the Las Vegas Public Works Department, one of Reimschiissel's crews placed 3,867,044 square yards of slurry seal to complete the $3.5 million project.

The 13- to 14-member crew operated three self-contained truck-mounted Valley Slurry Seal Macropavers that traveled from staging areas to the projects, where they were then attached to a spreader box to apply the specified Type 1 or Type 2 slurry.

"It really worked out well having the three units shuttle back and forth to the staging areas where we could load them with materials," Reimschiissel says. "We had eight stockpile staging areas for this project and when one of the pavers mixed and emptied its load in the slurry box, another was ready to be hooked up and continue spreading the slurry."

As a past president and Slurry Seal Workshop Committee chairman of the International Slurry Surfacing Association, Reimschiissel has been active in the slurry seal industry for 30 years, providing industry guidance on applications and specifications in several states. He has also been promoting the use of slurry seals and pavement preservation for three decades.

When Reimschiissel launched the maintenance division for American Asphalt in 2001, he had one sealcoat crew and one slurry crew. Today, the division employs 75 associates working in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, providing slurry seal, sealcoating, crack sealing, asphalt paving/patching, and pavement marking and striping.

He operates two paving/patching crews, two slurry seal crews, three to four sealcoat crews that apply the company's proprietary AMERICOAT mineral fill emulsion, one crack seal crew and one striping crew.

Project slurry placement

Reimschiissel's slurry seal crews place Type 1 (1/8-in. aggregate, used for low wear traffic areas), Type 2 (1/4-in. aggregate, used for most roadways) and Type 3 (3/8-in. aggregate, used for severe surface defects) surface preservation treatments.

On the recent Las Vegas projects, crews placed Type 1 and Type 2 slurry seal mixes primarily on residential and some downtown business streets. It was not uncommon for the one slurry seal crew to complete 10 to 20 streets a day, laying 35,000 to 40,000 square yards of material.

The contract required an average daily application rate of 25,000 to 40,000 square yards. Reimschiissel says production during the 10- to 12-hour days did run as high as 50,000 to 55,000 square yards with a daily high of 65,000 square yards. Type 1 slurry was placed at 10 to 13 pounds of aggregate per square yard, while the Type 2 application was placed at 13 to 20 pounds of aggregate per square yard.

The slurry seal used on this project contained a latex modified cationic quick setting asphalt emulsion with a one-hour set time. That means roads had to be open to traffic one hour after application, without the occurrence of bleeding, raveling, separation or other distresses.

Full curing of the seal occurred within 24 hours. An aluminum sulfate set control additive was used in the slurry mix design. Reimschiissel's slurry seal crew had to deliver a homogeneous mat that was firmly adhered to the cleaned and prepared road surface, and the finished coat had to provide a friction resistant surface texture throughout its service life.

His crews are productive - they need to be with the demanding schedules their road agencies place on them; and when it comes to customers like the City of Las Vegas, neatness is as important as meeting completion deadlines. Road agencies and commercial customers have high expectations of maintaining a well-groomed appearance. Remember, we're talking about Vegas, and Vegas is all about the show.

The city expects their streets to be pristine. "The city officials are definitely strict about the quality of work we deliver," Reimschiissel says. "We have to grind off any oil spots before we can begin sealing a street. They want neat seams, and they don't want to see any sealer lapping over the adjacent curb. If you get anything on the curb line, you have to clean it off. And they're also very strict about removing any dust or mud from the street surface before we begin sealing; and not tracking any dust from our staging areas to the projects."

Project challenge

"The challenge with a project this large is in coordinating the schedules with all the city departments." Reimschiissel says. "The city requires us to send out two notices (to residents and business owners located along a scheduled street project), and we also have to post ?no parking' signs along the street. We also have to work out any logistics with garbage collection, police and fire departments, and businesses (like casinos) that require access during the time we're doing the work.

"It really involves a lot of communication to make sure we can complete a road when it's scheduled and do so in a way that minimizes any inconvenience to those who rely on that street," he adds.

There were times during the project when the slurry crew had to work weekends to either maintain the aggressive schedule required to complete the project, or to address roads that could only be sealed at that time.

"There were roads located around schools or some businesses that could not be blocked off during the week, so in those situations we scheduled the work for the weekend," he explains.

In order to stage the required work in an orderly fashion, the city issued maps detailing the specific streets to be treated within the specific lots and specific sections of the project; and as Reimschiissel points out, each map came with a deadline.

"That means we had to not only complete the work on time, but we also had to forward the maps to others (like garbage collectors) to make them aware of our schedule; and if our scheduled changed, we had to notify those that would be affected by that change," he says. "There were penalties for not meeting deadlines, so it was crucial to keep everyone aware of our schedules and any changes."

Reimschiissel attributes the success of executing a large project to the competent crews who do the work and having the right equipment. The large Las Vegas project proved once again why he relies on Valley Slurry Seal Macropavers.

"I use Valley Slurry Seal Macropavers to meet our production needs because the equipment is built well and we're able to run it hard without worrying about breakdowns," he says. "The pugmills mix the materials completely and quickly to assure a good slurry seal product. We're working with very dry material and we don't want to end up with a bunch of sand balls out on the road."

As for the satisfaction of successfully completing a large project, Reimschiissel says it's a matter of working together for a common outcome - a quality project that meets the needs of the road agency, businesses and residents who rely on a quality infrastructure.

"Some of the roads we are working on are roads we worked on 25 to 27 years ago. They're roads that have had several slurry treatments over the years," Reimschiissel says. "So it just proves that you can maintain a quality road structure through regular maintenance and preservation treatments, and the City of Las Vegas likes to keep its roads in tip-top shape."

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