News: Civil engineers repaint road lines, patch potholes
Story by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Roads become icy and slick during the winter months. Snow plows tear up painted road lines and asphalt making possible hazards for spring drivers.
The 773d Civil Engineer Squadron paint shop and pavements and potholes team ensures the roads are safer for drivers by repainting lines on the roads and fixing potholes.
“Our main focus is safety of anyone who drives on the roads on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and personnel operating on the flight line,” said David Hummel, 773d CES painter.
The paint shop paints the road lines annually – when fiscally possible – because long winter months deteriorate them, he said.
“The brooms on the plow trucks tear the lines right up,” said Matthew Michaelis, 773d CES road sign painter.
Before the painters begin the process of repainting the lines, street cleaners clean the streets so the paint can stick to the pavement.
Lasers guide the painters over previously white-marked areas, so they know where to lay the paint lines, said John Murdock, 773d CES paint supervisor.
One of the most important reasons for the lines to be repainted is to ensure driver safety in limited visibility conditions. The 773d CES mix glass beads in the paint for reflectivity, granting drivers better visibility at night.
The painters will use more than 17,000 gallons of paint throughout the summer for the lines on the flight line and roads on JBER.
Motorists should be on the lookout for the painters, and drive within the posted speed-limit sign on the back of the painting truck, Hummel said.
“If you see the paint trucks, don’t automatically think you can just pass them,” Hummel said. “The crew members will generally wave you by to let you pass when it is safe.”
Spring is also the season for potholes.
“Potholes generally happen as the ground begins to thaw, the asphalt and the top layer of gravel start to disintegrate, making a hole in the asphalt,” said Dennis Sessler, 773d CES airfield clearing supervisor.
When asphalt is laid, normally it lasts for approximately 15 to 20 years. Asphalt longevity decreases due to wind, rain, snow, ice and earthquakes, Sessler said.
“Most of our potholes develop in areas of poor drainage, usually caused by excessive vehicle traffic,” he said.
For the pothole to be fixed, the workers cut away asphalt from the pothole until it is level. They then add hot-mix asphalt, when available, or cold-mix asphalt until it is level with the rest of the road. CMA is more widely used because it is well suited for use in the winter months, Sessler said.
“Once a pothole is called into our dispatcher, we respond to it within 24 hours,” Sessler said. “Most times the holes are repaired within hours.”
To contact road maintenance or pothole repairs, call 552-2994 or 552-2995.