Surface Characteristics of Concrete Roads: Recent Developments Towards Quieter Roads

Paper and Presentation by Anne Beeldens and Luc Rens, Surface Characteristics of Concrete Roads: Recent Developments Towards Quieter Roads from ASCP 4th Concrete Pavements Conference 2017

The surface finishing techniques and the texture of concrete roads have undergone a significant evolution in the past 50 years. Where emphasis was placed on skid resistance and water drainage, noise reduction by an optimised texture has gained recently in importance. The European Environmental Noise Directive imposes the EU Member States to make an assessment and mapping of the noise problem and to develop action plans. It is the challenge for road authorities to build quieter pavements that will sustain their noisereduction benefits over time without jeopardizing safety, ride quality and durability. Concrete roads, with an optimised surface texture, have confirmed to be able to comply with these demands.

Quiet pavements are characterized by a smooth surface with no bumps or irregularities. The standard surface finishing in Europe for concrete roads is the fine-grained exposedaggregate concrete, either in a single layer or a double layer concept. Double-layered concrete motorways have been built in several countries, mainly Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Other finishing techniques for concrete pavements are micro-milling, diamond grinding and the “Next Generation Concrete Surface”, which is an optimised combination of grooving and grinding with very promising results. First test sections have been constructed in Belgium, Germany and in the Netherlands. This paper starts with a short history of the concrete pavement surface finishing techniques in relation to their performance characteristics. The optimised surfaces are presented through a selection of case studies describing the construction method as well as the surface characteristics.

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