That Shiny Glare of New Pavement

The in basket: Jo Clark wrote in November to say Kitsap County’s “great improvement of  Newberry Hill has been well worth all the inconvenience. Now it is wider, better marked, and therefore much safer.”
But she did find that the new blacktop in heavy rain “reflected oncoming and overhead lights so much that it made it difficult to navigate.  I checked other roads in the rain, and haven’t seen that kind of glare.” 


The in basket: Jo Clark wrote in November to say Kitsap County’s “great improvement of  Newberry Hill has been well worth all the inconvenience. Now it is wider, better marked, and therefore much safer.”
But she did find that the new blacktop in heavy rain “reflected oncoming and overhead lights so much that it made it difficult to navigate.  I checked other roads in the rain, and haven’t seen that kind of glare.” 
The out basket: I’m pretty late using Jo’s inquiry, and I suspect the problem may have corrected itself. Jacques Dean, the county’s construction manager says, “It isn’t uncommon to receive a glare from new pavement when it is wet.
Aside from the fact that it is very black, the fine aggregates and asphalt oil are still very tight at the surface. This provides the smooth appearance and smooth ride that is the hallmark of new pavements. Add water on the surface and it tends to act like a mirror.
“Over time the color will fade and the fine aggregates will begin to wear at the surface. This breaks up the surface smoothness and helps refract the light.”

One thought on “That Shiny Glare of New Pavement

  1. I had intended to write you also in November. Since the resurfacing of Hiway 3 beteen the Hood Canal Bridge and the intersection with Big Valley Road, when it is raining, you cannot see the yellow lines, not to mention the yellow reflectors. If it were not for the FOG line, it would be impossible to navigate through that area. It is the most dangerous stretch of Highway I have ever driven when it is raining. And after many years of driving I cannot remember new asphalt having that glare. Thinking it was just me and my imagination I let it go. But we were riding with some friends in December and our driver could not see the center lines. Being older, he was a basket case by the time we approached the bridge. I certainly am glad someone else brought up the subject. Thank you for letting me vent. They need to install better reflectors in that area.

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