Seeing Off the Pavement Season

Winter is coming! And ahead of the wet, rainy and cold months comes the end of the last full paving season on the Bunbury Outer Ring Road (BORR) project.

Published: 13 May 2024, Updated: 15 May 2024

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 Since the paving season began back in October 2023, the BORR team have been hard at work along the alignment. But what are we talking about when we talk about paving?

It’s the spraying of bitumen seal and the laying of asphalt. This process is important because it forms what’s referred to as the wearing course layer of the road. In other words, it is the actual surface upon which cars and trucks are going to drive.

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Due to the sheer scale of the paving target, it took a big team effort in coordination with local contractors and the use of local resources being key to the paving season’s success.

Plus, after its successful trial, the use of stone mastic asphalt made this paving season especially unique. This form of asphalt was chosen thanks to its durable and long-lasting nature along with its low level of noise generation and superior texture providing safety benefits to the road user.

 Why is paving limited to certain times of the year?

Bitumen and pavements are sensitive to moisture and temperature, and best practice construction requires long windows of warm, dry weather. If the temperature is too cold and the pavement surface gets too wet (after significant rainfall) prior to sealing, it can reduce the adhesion of the seal and trap moisture into the pavement, therefore reducing its strength. That’s why it’s important to get as much of the paving completed as possible before winter arrives in the South West.

The team are on track to complete the target of 1 million square metres of prime and seal, with potential to do even more if the weather holds up. Considering that there is approximately 1.3 to 1.4 million square metres of road to pave across the entire project, 77 per cent marks significant progress. Come spring 2024, the rest of the paving will be completed ahead of the road opening.

In the meantime, the paving team will keep a keen eye on the weather forecasts and if the skies present a week or two of reliable dry weather, they’ll be out in force and paving away while they have the chance.

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 Stretch of paving near the Raymond Road interchange

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