The types of road surfaces you drive in the future could be some of the ones being tested right now in suburban Pierce County.
The county is trying out six new road surfaces in the Frederickson area to determine how well they hold up and which ones to use for future road maintenance projects.
The pilot project is taking place along a roughly quarter-mile stretch of 192nd Street East. Drivers may notice different pavement colors, textures and vibrations from the surfaces.
Two of the pavement products were put down last week. Four others will be applied Sept. 8-19.
The county will monitor the test area for several indicators:
• How well the product wears and holds up over time, and whether it prevents potholes from forming.
• How well it soaks into a road’s surface layer and protects underlying pavement.
• How well it performs in winter conditions.
Workers will evaluate the surfaces for seven to 10 years — the life of the product — to determine the effectiveness of the surfaces.
Based on the test, the county will apply some of the products on neighborhood roads as part of its pavement program in summer 2015, said Marlene Ford, maintenance engineering supervisor.
This is the county’s first large-scale test of road surfaces, Ford said. The cost of the test project is about $44,000 from Pierce County road funds.
Six new products are being applied twice in 100-foot-long sections west of 38th Avenue East. There is also one longer section using the county’s usual chip-sealing product; it starts after the experimental work and runs to 22nd Avenue East.
The project will help the county evaluate ways to preserve roads while reducing costs, Ford said.
The two-lane, 35-mph road will remain open while the surfaces are applied. Minor delays are expected, but flaggers will direct traffic through work zones.
192nd Street East was chosen because it is an urban collector arterial that nearby residents use to reach a primary arterial, Canyon Road East. The test road has higher-than-average truck traffic.
Intermountain Slurry Seal Inc. is the contractor applying the new surfaces.