Successful Paving Starts with Striping
BY John Ball
You probably thought the striping crew came in at the end of the paving job but today, we’re looking at how important it is to start with a can of paint.
It sounds simple at first but it’s a back-to-basics fact; You must line out the job, so you know how you’re going to pave it. You want to paint stripes directly on the ground. Paint numbers, arrows, and tonnages in big, bold, reflective paint so your paver operator, haul truck drivers, and other essential laborers know where they are at all times and can figure out how much material is being used or is yet to come. By lining out the job—including marking measurements and tonnages on the pavement—you set yourself up for success in more ways than one.
How Will We Get Out of Here?
Lines on the ground are for communication. They tell everyone:
- direction for trucks;
- direction for the paver;
- amount of yield and tonnage;
- width of the lane;
- depth of the lane; and
- length of the lane.
If you don’t put lines down, the crew could potentially pave themselves into a corner. They could have a roller operator forced to cross a lane of fresh tack to get onto the mat for breakdown rolling. They could have a loaded haul truck crossing a new mat, crumbling the joint to pieces and leaving valleys for the laborers to fill. These quality control mistakes can be avoided by planning ahead and taking the time to line out the job.
Typically, the foreman or screed operator will take care of lining out the job because he’s the one ultimately responsible for laying the mat. He’s got to know “how” to pave the surface. He wants to figure out and let every other crewmember know how the trucks are going to come into the project and how they’re going to back up. Lining out the job is all about direction so you must do it before you start paving, before trucks are on their way.
How Many Tons Are Left?
Let’s say it’s almost 3 p.m. and the plant operator calls to ask if he can shut down on time for the day. If you look up and see two trucks waiting to charge the paver, maybe you think you’re good. That’s flying by the seat of your pants.
If you have lines down and tonnages written in the lanes, you can tell the plant operator exactly what you still need. Without lines, you have to stop and figure out how much you’ve been using per pull (your yield, which you can use the AsphaltPro calculator at this link to figure) and guess how much more you expect to use in the space remaining. Maybe you err on the side of caution and tell him to keep a couple more trucks on hold—and that adds up to overtime and higher costs. Maybe you think you’ve got this made in the shade and you tell him to shut down for the day—and that could be a costly mistake if you get to the last pull and find yourself in need of another 18 tons.
The lines not only tell you how wide you’re going to pave and where to set the paver, they help you keep track of “where” you are in your tons used—especially if you mark the number of tons each pass requires.
It’s All in the Planning
I consider lining out the job to be one of the top three things your crew will do when you get to the job site.
- Hold the job meeting.
- Decide and discuss who’s running the equipment.
- Line out the job.
When you have the job properly lined out with lanes, direction and tonnages marked, you give everyone on the crew a better opportunity to follow the layout for the day. You give everyone a visual map to guide them through a successful paving project.
John Ball is the proprietor of Top Quality Paving & Training, Manchester, New Hampshire. For more information, contact him at (603) 493-1458.