Causes of Damage

Right from the start, a road can be subject to certain external influences that will cause extra wear and damage. These include the following:

• Conditions of use. Excessive driving speeds or vehicle weight, particularly in humid conditions or during thaw, as well as dense traffic, inevitably lead to excessive wear of the surface course and the formation of potholes, cracks, and similar evidence of damage; crushing and subsidence of the road body, verges, and drainage installations; and pollution. Mechanical clearance of snow from the road results in cracking of the surface course and damage to the verges, not to mention the harm caused by road salt. Timber harvesting causes abrasion wear and compaction, and agricultural use leads to pollution from dung and urine (livestock) and from soil material (farming).

• Climate. Precipitation and melting snow cause erosion, leaching, landslips, and drip damage. Frost and dew cause cracks, whereas strong sunshine, wind, and heat result in a loss of fine matter and of binding materials.

• Vegetation. The fall of leaves and pine needles pollutes the road surface, and vegetation grows from cracks in the road and from drainage installations. Trees and bushes reduce the profile and the visibility and cause drip damage.

• Civil engineering defects. Faulty or inappropriate drainage installations increase the risk of erosion, whereas insufficient bearing capacity increases the likelihood of subsidence and of damage by vehicles.

• Natural aging. All construction materials are subject to natural aging, which leads to thinning of the surface course, segregation, aging of the concrete, and the structural disintegration of the bearing and surface courses.

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