In the competitive asphalt maintenance industry, a successful bid requires expert leveraging of experience to provide quality results with no waste. It also means having the necessary equipment to meet the brief. When several DOTs in its operating area began spec’ing a high-performance mastic sealer, Innovative Roadway Solutions knew it was time for a sealcoat equipment upgrade. They needed a reliable system with the power and precision to meet DOT specs while allowing them to remain competitive.
Onyx is a frictional mastic surface treatment quickly gaining popularity with DOTs across the U.S., including some in Texas, Missouri and the surrounding states where Innovative Roadway Solutions operates. Since 2017, the company has completed approximately 25 contracts spec’ing this material. The majority of these have been with local, state or federal agencies, requiring a high degree of precision, quality and dependability.
“Contracts with government agencies at the city, county and state level aren’t easy to get,” said Kevin King, president of Innovative Roadway Solutions. “It’s not just about the lowest bid, though that is definitely a part of it. It’s about reputation. The high aggregate composition of Onyx requires a stronger pump than other spray applications. To maintain our reputation for quality and dependability and still be able to submit competitive bids, we needed specialized equipment that provided the volume and precision that customers required.”
High-Volume Pumping Capabilities
When it came to pump design, Innovative Roadways Solutions knew there was no one in the pavement preservation industry with more experience than Blastcrete Equipment LLC.
“When dealing with high-aggregate products, Blastcrete provides a unique expertise other OEMs don’t have,” King said. “Their pumps are originally designed to handle robust, difficult materials. When they integrated that technology with Neal Manufacturing equipment — which already had excellent pumps for traditional preservation coatings — we knew we were working with a winning team for developing high-aggregate pavement preservation equipment.”
Innovative Roadway Solutions upgraded the pumps on some of their existing equipment to a more reliable hydraulic piston pump. The heavy-duty aggregate pump (HDP) system offered the fastest transfer rate on the market — up to 150 gpm — but, more importantly, produced enough pressure to move mixtures with up to 10 pounds of sand per gallon.
“Using Onyx with a traditional sealcoat pump system results in a lot of unnecessary downtime,” King said. “Asphalt maintenance has a very limited season — only about seven months in some of the states we work in — so we need to make every minute count. Neal Manufacturing’s equipment is simple, easy to use and durable. With it there’s less cleaning, less maintenance and fewer clogs, saving us valuable minutes every day.”
Lasting Asphalt Maintenance
The pavement maintenance specialist also retrofitted one of its existing high-volume application trucks with the HDP system and spray apparatus, as well as added a new 3,000-gallon truck system to its fleet. Equipped with the Generation IV 150-gpm pump, the new truck provided productivity like never before.
The basic design also provided a number of features that made sealcoat application more user friendly. In-cab controls allowed drivers to easily control spray bar height for optimum control as weight shifted during application. This on-board system was also capable of controlling individual heads to provide more precision and flexibility for applications on narrow surfaces.
Additionally, a metering system was added that worked in conjunction with the High-Volume Road Maintenance Vehicle. The system combined information for four load cells positioned on the corners of the tank with a component that measures distance to provide an accurate application rate. An on-board printer provided immediate results when necessary.
With the new system, Innovative Roadway Solutions could accurately assess application rates and ensure uniform distribution, allowing the contractor to remain a competitive bidder with agencies across its area of operation.
On one such project, completed for the Paris District of the TXDOT, Innovative Roadway Solutions applied 767,331 square yards of Onyx in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day weekend. As part of the overall job, crews used the Neal Manufacturing equipment to apply the mastic sealer to 207,748 square yards of parking areas, boat ramps, main grounds and RV spots at US Army Corps of Engineers Lake Jim Chapman at Cooper Dam, commonly called Cooper Lake. The application didn’t disturb visitors and surfaces were dry enough to resume normal traffic in time for the holiday.
“This is a great time to be in the asphalt maintenance industry,” King said. “The process is changing. New products are coming out. Experienced manufacturers are stepping up to provide the equipment we need to leverage these to our customer’s advantage. It’s an ideal environment for Innovative Roadway Solutions to continue growing and continue pushing ourselves.”