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The positive side to negative texture


Messrs Bowskill and Mercer of the Highways Agency are to be congratulated on 'biting the bullet' over the long-running saga of concrete versus blacktop for carriageway running surfaces (NCE 15 February).

I have spent over 40 years in the business and have yet to see a satisfactory long term running surface on a concrete road.

By satisfactory, I mean one that has good skid resistance in all weather conditions and one that does not need a health warning to users about unacceptable noise, riding quality, etc.

High performance 'negative texture' bituminous surfacings are the answer. When I was head of Lincs Lab, we laid some of the first such systems in the UK in Lincolnshire. This was more than 10 years ago.

We imported the idea from France - they are now everywhere on the French motorway system.

I can report that every time I visit my daughter in Atlanta even more of the concrete road Interstate I75 - all seven lanes of it - and peripheral I285 is being covered with negative textured asphalt.

Just in case your readers think that I am biased against concrete in road construction I am not. I think that in 'whole life cost' terms concrete foundations have a lot going for them. It's all a case of horses for courses as they say.

John Hill (M)

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