RoadSaver makes good on its promise

By Jeff Winke

Follow Arizona’s western border south about halfway down and find Bullhead City (BHC) Arizona which is located on the east bank of the Colorado river near the junction of Arizona, California, and Nevada. Historically known as a navigation point for steamboats traversing the river, BHC is now known as a tourist destination with its proximity to Las Vegas and outdoor recreation.

BHC gets more than its fair share of UV rays with its yearly average of 285 sunny days. Ultraviolet rays break down asphalt by weakening the bonds of the oils/components within it and make it fade to grey. Once enough damage has been done from the rays, water will eventually breach the structure’s surface and trickle down to the foundation, causing permanent damage.

In 2015, the streets in Bullhead City were in poor condition even though the city embraced the pavement preservation concept. Federal Highway Administration guidance describes preservation as work that is planned and performed to improve or sustain the asphalt pavement’s condition keeping it in a state of good repair.

The cost of bidding out projects to contractors limited the work the tax budget could afford leaving their streets in a state of decline that seemed unwinnable.

This was not something the BHC city leaders, nor the residents, were willing to accept so they decided to take control. In August 2016, the city embarked on an aggressive program to regain control and improve the lives of their citizens by providing better quality streets throughout the city’s 57.2 square miles. They started by looking at the work the city was currently bidding out and evaluated which preservation process could make the biggest difference for the residents. The decision was made, slurry and microsurfacing would be the city’s investment.

The Etnyre RoadSaver mobile unit was chosen over competitive machines. RoadSavers are designed to be the finest slurry seal and micro surfacing machine available. Etnyre International designs and manufactures what it considers top-tier machines for asphalt pavement maintenance. Etnyre uses high-end components and ultra-durable, hi-tensile steel for fabrications. The sealcoat, slurry seal, and micro surfacing machines are designed to be tough to keep crews working and producing. Etnyre’s RoadSaver is engineered and built in Wickenburg AZ, USA.

For Bullhead City’s purposes, the RoadSaver was selected for a number of reasons. One of the primary considerations was the noise reduction provided by RoadSaver 3G’s PTO design. The RS3G was introduced to the industry in 2009 and its PTO drive eliminated the noise, additional weight, and the maintenance costs associated with an auxiliary engine. The innovation of the machine is that it uses the machine’s water tank to cool the hydraulic system thereby eliminating hot air being pumped into the atmosphere by a traditional heat exchanger. High production capability, reverse gradient conveyor, dual motor drive pugmill mixer, dual Joystick operation and many other features when added to the RoadSaver support and training made the decision easy for the city leaders.

The innovative design delivered what the city desperately needed to address the deteriorated roads. After educating themselves on the process, chemistry, application, and costs, BHC purchased a RoadSaver Slurry Seal and Microsurfacing Machine with the intent of applying a new wear course to 20% of the streets every year for the first 5 years of machine ownership.

Bullhead City beat their own timeline and have delivered on their commitment to the residents for good, safe streets. In 2020, BHC purchased their second RoadSaver Slurry Seal and Microsurfacing Machine due to the success they have achieved.

Bullhead City’s Pavement Manager, David Witzel reported that approximately 900 lane-miles have been given a slurry or microsurfacing treatment in addition to most of the city’s parks and recreational areas. Since 2018, BHC have applied approximately 6,203,978 square yards of slurry accounting for 129% of the total city’s roads and parks.

The choice of surface treatment is largely dependent on the surface condition of the existing asphalt. In BHC’s case the very low rainfall and high UV has resulted in oxidized asphalt, when the UV rays oxidize the asphalt glue, the pavement becomes hard and brittle.

Under even low traffic the small surface stones break loose and expose the underlying asphalt to harmful UV rays and continue the deterioration of the road surface. Slurry and Microsurfacing are processes where the surface of the existing asphalt is coated with a thin application of crushed aggregate coated with an asphalt emulsion. This provides a new wear course and bonds to the underlying asphalt. The result is a new surface that is a rich black color making line striping clearly visible and leaves a surface texture for a safer driving experience even on those scant few rain days the residents of Bullhead City experience.

For more information, please visit, send an email to or call 815-732-2116. Visit to view the full line of equipment available from Etnyre International.