Achieving the best results

By Jeff Winke

Colored pavements are typically installed to improve safety for pedestrian or road traffic or for purely aesthetic decorative visual effect. With road traffic, colored pavement can define different functions or routes, such as reduced speed, bus lanes, bike lanes, entry thresholds, crosswalks, or intersections. Colored pavement can implement a calming measure to traffic, creating an oasis from the maddening pace.

“Colored pavement would be the best choice when you are looking to enhance the visual appeal of a section of your pavement,” stated Nihal Pandrapragada, research chemist at STAR, Inc., Columbus, Ohio. “The scenarios are various and versatile. These include bike lanes, walkways, pedestrian crossings, sports surfaces, school play areas, parking lots, the grounds of amusement parks, zoos, and other visitor-centric facilities, to name a few.”

Pavement color can communicate.

“Colored pavement can be the best choice in high traffic incident areas where traditional markings and traffic safety devices are not enough to get motorists’ attention,” stated Karen Dinitz, president of Transpo Industries, Inc., New Rochelle, New York. “The long-term positive effects of decorative pavement is the increased visibility.”

There are many applications for a colored pavement in the world.

“Color applications on asphalt and concrete pavement surfaces has become so popular in the past couple decades with the most popular of late is the coloring of asphalt bike trails in and around cities,” stated Mark McLeod, president CEO, of Maintenance Inc., Wooster, Ohio. “With bike trails, there has been a push for safety and the thrust for funds for safer easier-to-navigate bike trails. Inner cities, with a growing bike community, are asking for more and more miles of well-marked and colored side-road lanes for the long riders to be able to cross streets and ride along paths that mingle with the city streets creating a need for well-marked and color coded lanes to travel safely.”

McLeod continued, “We’re finding among our biggest colored pavement projects are tennis and pickle ball courts that can be customized with school colors, logos, or numbers. Many cities have tight budgets and want to enhance their street medians and crosswalks to make them more visible and pleasing to the eye. Asphalt contractor companies are utilizing various methods for making asphalt medians look like inlaid paver bricks by using the street print or other similar applications when the asphalt is originally installed, then acrylic colors such as brick red, bright greens, or sandstone are applied over the prints giving the look of richness and visual clarity. More and more cities have moved toward the safe ride applications that enhance the bus lanes as well as pedestrian safety in crosswalks and walk/jogging paths.“

Color coatings today are comprised of cross linking polymer technology–100% pure acrylic–that will provide a durable long lasting vibrant rich color that will stand the test of time.

“A positive effect of the rich hues used in decorative pavement is their increased, long-term, visibility,” Dinitz said. “Formulations used in pavement colors are often designed for durability and enhanced skid-resistance.”

Besides aesthetic appeal, there are other benefits of decorative pavement

“Colored coatings offer a flexible, tough and durable protection for the pavement.,” Pandrapragada said. “It protects the pavement from damaging elements such as water, deicing salts, oils, chemicals, etc. Various other benefits also include but not limited to being environment friendly, typically easy to apply, improved safety in public areas, and generally low maintenance.”

“Decorative pavement coatings provide a non-slip surface and also protect the surface from UV and moisture, the two main causes of asphalt breakdown,” states Gerry Oliver, CEO of Pattern Paving Products based in Fort Mill, South Carolina. “Colored pavement can be used when you are highlighting an area for either safety purposes or for aesthetics”

Pandrapragada continued, “Color coatings are a brilliant way to add vibrant color to any paved surface, while offering protection, safety, and traffic delineation and for corporate identity and visibility. And this is offered at fractional costs of chemical coatings, like epoxies and polyurethanes, which are tedious to work with, hard to install, and are hazardous to handle and store.”

Through colored asphalts it is possible to obtain texture and style, as well as add safety on the roads. There are quite a few product options available within the industry – ranging from colored sealcoatings, paints and sports surfacing materials. Colored pavement can add architectural and aesthetic values, while being less expensive than many other options. It offers value to the paved world we live in.