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Section 2: Public Perception and Education

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General

Seal coats and surface treatments are used extensively in Texas, and the traveling public should be accustomed to this type of pavement surface. It is important for the public to understand why seal coats are critical for the preservation of the highway system. Occasionally someone may complain that they simply do not like this type of surfacing. The public may complain about this type of surfacing due to tire-pavement noise, loose rock, or the perception that it is inferior to an asphalt concrete overlay. Any complaint requires a response that addresses the concerns and also serves to educate the public regarding seal coats. It is important to communicate and coordinate with the district’s Public Information Office so they can help address complaints and educate the public.

The public may also be directed to the following link which is a short video describing how seal coats are an important part of TxDOT’s preventive maintenance program: https://vimeo.com/122355042.

Certain complaints may need to be addressed by a written response. The following is an example of a response from an area engineer to a citizen complaining of loose rock, does not think the seal coat is an adequate pavement surface, and is requesting that TxDOT overlay the surface.

“I am the TxDOT Area Engineer responsible for the highway section in question. I have asked our Maintenance Section to investigate any loose rock on this section of roadway and sweep where needed.

“In TxDOT, we refer to this type of surfacing as a seal coat. It consists of placing a thin layer of asphalt on the pavement and covering it with a single layer of rock. The asphalt seals most cracks (minimizing moisture infiltration) in the existing pavement and provides a binder for the rock. The rock provides a new friction course for the traveling public.

“This operation is very cost effective and is the most utilized preventive maintenance treatment on the Texas state highway system. Preventive maintenance treatments are used throughout the nation to preserve pavements and extend their useful performance life. Preventive maintenance treatments on the state highway system are generally constructed with funding from the Preventive Maintenance Program. Since funding under the Preventive Maintenance Program is limited, this funding is allocated to provide the most cost-effective treatment for each highway. A seal coat typically costs about $1.00/square yard; whereas, an asphalt concrete overlay costs about $5.00/square yard.

“We will continue to evaluate and prioritize work on all of the highways. As conditions warrant and funding becomes available, we will continue to use cost-effective methods to preserve the pavement structure on this highway.

“Our maintenance forces will continue to inspect this roadway and take appropriate corrective action, as needed. In some cases, the loose rocks are ones that have just lost their embedment into the asphalt and are immediately whipped from the travel lanes by traffic. Unfortunately, these rocks sometimes come in contact with a vehicle before ending up in the ditch. When this is the case, there may be no obvious signs of loose rock when our forces go out to inspect.

“Thank you for your concern with the safety of Texas highways and feel free to contact me with any additional concerns.”


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