Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

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Was92now625
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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by Was92now625 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 20:57

A8000Bob wrote:Yes, it's awful to drive on. Part of the M90 has been patched that many times its like dring on a washboard. The A90 Brechin bypass is just noisy.
Yes, I've been "away" almost 20 years but whenever the words "concrete" and "motorway" are mentioned in the same breath, my next thought is "M90" !!

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by novaecosse » Fri Nov 09, 2012 21:38

Chris Bertram wrote:
IAN wrote:Can anyone tell me why it is that even on concrete road sections they seem to use tarmac when the road is on a bridge - e.g. SW M25? Is it because tarmac is lighter so the bridge can be less strong than if concrete is used?

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I think that's exactly it. There may be something about heat expansion and contraction involved as well.
Bridge decks are waterproofed to preserve the structural integrity of the deck.
The waterproofing layer needs to replaced every so often, and asphalt is easier to remove than concrete.

We predominantly live in a wet country. A close look at the Brechin Bypass you can see rust staining coming out through the hairline cracks, as the reinforcing steel is attacked by moisture and salt.
Not a good idea to have this happening on a bridge deck. So it is protected by a waterproof layer.

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by wrinkly » Fri Nov 09, 2012 23:41

At times in the past, especially the early 80s, a lot of new motorways and trunk roads were built with concrete carriageways. It was a rule that contractors should normally be given the option of tendering for either concrete or blacktop, and concrete usually came in cheaper.

Nearly all of these have since been overlaid with blacktop. At one time there was a programme of overlaying concrete with blacktop specifically to reduce the noise. If I remember correctly, roads competed for inclusion in this programme on the basis of a combination of age and condition of the surface, noise level and proximity to houses.

Other roads such as M6 Toll were built from the first with concrete underneath and blackstuff on top.

A couple of previous threads on the same subject:

2011

2010

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by NICK 647063 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 23:45

The M1 around East Leeds was opened in 1999 and much of that was concrete but large sections were resurfaced due to complaints from people in Garforth and only small sections of concrete remain although it does seem noisy!

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by M19 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 09:04

Unfortunately its been an extreme swing from concrete to stone mastic asphalt which doesn't last 5 minutes. Autolink who manage the A19 under its DBFO arrangement, after constantly patching up SMA surfaces, now use hot rolled again.

As it happens, the A19 Billingham Bypass is concrete but is quite smooth to drive on. I can feel my car vibrating apart if I use the East Leeds M1, and the stretches that have been tarmaced with SMA are really crappy now, especially the A1(M).
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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by M5Lenzar » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:40

There is also the awful concrete on the M27 and M271.

Exactly what happened? Failed experiment?
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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by boing_uk » Sat Nov 10, 2012 13:03

And yet, I am surprised this is not used more often.

Moreover, I dont know why we dont use it more on local roads to be honest. Given the lack of skills now in being able to lay hot roll smoothly (some of our latest projects feel like theyve been "rolled" by a herd of elephants) compared to lets say 15 years ago and the cost of bituminous material I am surprised there hasnt been more of a push on concrete technology for carriageway courses.

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by nowster » Sat Nov 10, 2012 13:04

The end of the M56 from Stoak to Dunkirk is concrete, but it's been retextured in the last year, reducing the noise a little.

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by Duncan » Sat Nov 10, 2012 13:04

Johnathan will correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the A27 between Chichester and Havant concrete originally? I seem to remember the residents of the bypassed towns and villages (Bosham, Emsworth, Fishbourne, Southbourne, etc) moaning like fun over the road noise. Also, I think the Ilminster bypass was concrete, though not the NDLR, even though they were both built at more or less the same time.

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by novaecosse » Sat Nov 10, 2012 16:06

boing_uk wrote:Given the lack of skills now in being able to lay hot roll smoothly (some of our latest projects feel like theyve been "rolled" by a herd of elephants) compared to lets say 15 years ago and the cost of bituminous material I am surprised there hasnt been more of a push on concrete technology for carriageway courses.
It doesn't take much to get a ticket to drive a roller...
personally I think they should be 10 years behind the paver, hand raking, before they even get to sit in a roller.
I also find they are too handy with the 'vibrate' button, so you end up with a rippled surface, which will still pass the rolling straight edge test, so is 'within spec', so no comeback :roll:

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by boing_uk » Sat Nov 10, 2012 17:03

That's PRECISELY what our latest HRA surfaces are like.

I thought there was some new kind of corrugated roller on the market.

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by AJK1982 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 18:07

Duncan wrote:Johnathan will correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the A27 between Chichester and Havant concrete originally? I seem to remember the residents of the bypassed towns and villages (Bosham, Emsworth, Fishbourne, Southbourne, etc) moaning like fun over the road noise. Also, I think the Ilminster bypass was concrete, though not the NDLR, even though they were both built at more or less the same time.
It was for many years concrete and lots of money was spent on sound barriers to reduce the noise. Was an awful road to drive, especially as it's so interminably dull.

Didn't the last government promise to resurface all of England's concrete trunk roads with tarmac, hence why so few are left?
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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by WHBM » Sat Nov 10, 2012 19:35

Duncan wrote:Johnathan will correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the A27 between Chichester and Havant concrete originally? I seem to remember the residents of the bypassed towns and villages (Bosham, Emsworth, Fishbourne, Southbourne, etc) moaning like fun over the road noise. Also, I think the Ilminster bypass was concrete, though not the NDLR, even though they were both built at more or less the same time.
The A27 Chichester to Havant was the worst for sideline noise ever in the country. It must be due to the small detail of the fines in the concrete, in that you get different noise performance from different sections. I remember being in the villages half a mile to the south and it sounded like a continuous jetplane noise. However, it wasn't so bad when in cars driving along it.

In contrast the M25 in Surrey from Reigate round to Cobham, which was originally concrete D3M, and widened out to concrete D4M, is a real thumper and whiner to drive along nowadays (if you don't know the stretch you can think you have a puncture), but not so bad in the country alongside.

For a long time the MoT/DfT always went out for two quotes from main contractors for new motorway construction, for asphalt or for concrete top surface, and invariably chose the cheapest on each section. Because the price of the bulk materials is quite dependent on haulage costs from where the relevant local depots for each type of material might originate from, this can give the differential pricing which favours one or the other in different places.

What surprises me is that much of the US Interstate network is concrete surface, yet they seem to have cracked this form of construction and do not get anything like the noise nuisance we do in the UK, either in-vehicle or sideline. I don't know how they do it (although I have asked them more than once).

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by dragonv480 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 19:53

WHBM wrote: What surprises me is that much of the US Interstate network is concrete surface, yet they seem to have cracked this form of construction and do not get anything like the noise nuisance we do in the UK, either in-vehicle or sideline. I don't know how they do it (although I have asked them more than once).
Could part of it be how they lay it? Most American highways are formed in a continuous concrete path via slip forming - perhaps this has an influence.
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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by c2R » Sat Nov 10, 2012 20:22

The M11 was dreadful when the concrete was wearing out.... the slabs had come apart from oneanother and had sunk in different (less of a problem with continuously rolled, true), so the car basically bumped up and down each slab, so there was additional noise and vibration, other than the standard road noise that driving on concrete causes...
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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by Johnathan404 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 20:49

M5Lenzar wrote:There is also the awful concrete on the M27 and M271.

Exactly what happened? Failed experiment?
On the M271, probably just badly maintaned. It was very clear on the approach to the roundabout that the surface had been worn to its bone by HGVs braking.

It recently had some texture added to it and is now hard to tell from any other surface.
Duncan wrote:Johnathan will correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the A27 between Chichester and Havant concrete originally? I seem to remember the residents of the bypassed towns and villages (Bosham, Emsworth, Fishbourne, Southbourne, etc) moaning like fun over the road noise.
My abiding memory of this section of the A27 was it being a tedious drag the whole way along. This was improved immensely when the surface was changed and the awful noise removed completely.

Now it's the Chichester Bypass that's a drag, but that's for entirely different reasons!
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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by Fluid Dynamics » Sat Nov 10, 2012 23:12

Johnathan404 wrote:
M5Lenzar wrote:There is also the awful concrete on the M27 and M271.

Exactly what happened? Failed experiment?
On the M271, probably just badly maintaned. It was very clear on the approach to the roundabout that the surface had been worn to its bone by HGVs braking.
The M27 between Titchfield (just to the east of the missing services) and Bursledon was built as concrete and was awful from day one. It was patched almost immediately, suffered severe rutting and after many attempts at making good eventually replaced. In the 70's it made our family car feel like a boneshaker! The A27 from Havant to Chichester was a much better surface from driving point of view. Its failure was more to do with the road's proximity to mixed rural/urban sprawl communities and it design, mostly being at the same level as the surrounding land, as opposed in cuttings that reduce noise pollution.

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by WHBM » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:00

The old German Nazibahnen that got left in the GDR (and Poland) after 1945 were entirely concrete. By 1991 when I first used them they were not only 50 years old but had received no meaningful maintenance, apart from the Hanover to Berlin corridor route which had been rebuilt with West German funding. After the GDR was reunited a 100 km/h limit was imposed on them all. However, it was frequently not possible to even reach this speed. The expansion joints had not been maintained and so you proceeded over continuous thumps from the blocks, while the surface itself had degenerated into rough oscillations, overlaid on this. Junctions, wich were more conventional right-angle turns rather than with deceleration lanes, were most surprisingly laid in typical city cobbles to abut the concrete.

Do we have any motorways in this country, concrete or blacktop, which have not been resurfaced for 50 years ? Have the M45 or M50 ever been done ?

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by firefly » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:12

dragonv480 wrote:Could part of it be how they lay it? Most American highways are formed in a continuous concrete path via slip forming - perhaps this has an influence.
Concrete carriageways are no less continuously laid in Britain. No-one lays individual slabs as some people suggest.

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Re: Concrete on motorways - why don't we use it?

Post by WHBM » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:11

firefly wrote:
dragonv480 wrote:Could part of it be how they lay it? Most American highways are formed in a continuous concrete path via slip forming - perhaps this has an influence.
Concrete carriageways are no less continuously laid in Britain. No-one lays individual slabs as some people suggest.
So what are these bitumen-filled joints then (taking the quickest example I could find and know) which go ker-thump ker-thump as you drive along the road.

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