Black Gold: Crews get to work paving local streets

APALACHIN, N.Y. - We now conclude our series Black Gold.

Yesterday we showed you how it's made in the plant.

Tonight, NewsChannel 34's Mike Tanzini rides with a local crew to lay the asphalt down on the street.

As neighbors rejoice at the site of a crew ready to pave the street, workers at Broome Bituminous are ready to get to work.

"It's part of living in the Northeast. We have freeze and thaw and a lot of rain. Once that freeze and thaw happens, you're going to get potholes. Potholes are going to start ruining a road, which is bad for the general public, but if you're in our industry it's a good thing," said Vice President Dan Gates.

A new convoy of trucks arrive and we're ready to lay it down.

The blacktop is fed from the front to the back of the paver, as a screed evens it out to make it smooth and even.

The paver driven by a worker sitting on the back.

It actually pushes the dump truck, which is usually in neutral, as it feeds the blacktop.

A truckload only lasts a few minutes, then another pulls up and the empty truck is off to refill.

The paver can actually pave an entire 2-lane street, but it's more beneficial to keep a lane open for drivers.

"Those construction signs, barrels and cones that you see, we get too used to them and you forget to slow down. That's something to remember, these guys on the paver, they have to go home too," said Gates.

Another position, which I was responsible for, is also operated on the back of the paver.

He shifts from side to side and is in charge of making sure the blacktop is spread to the appropriate width.

It spreads out and is applied at around 300 degrees, which makes water from the steamroller actually boil.

"There will be no water in the mix. That water you see comes from the drums of the roller. They have to be watered to keep the blacktop from sticking to the steel drums of the roller," said Gates.

The asphalt takes a few hours to fully dry and it can be utilized by anxious drivers.

It might be the end of this project, but there's always another street to be paved and more blacktop to be poured.

Broome Bituminous provides contracted paving and blacktop distribution for local municipalities, but it also takes on private, commercial projects.

Gates does warn anyone planning a paving project, big or small, to contact multiple, local producers to avoid being scammed by out-of-towners posing as paving professionals.


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