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Seeing beauty and value in roller compacted concrete

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Conewago Enterprises Inc. utilizes roller compacted concrete on railroad intermodal projects as well as large distribution centers like this one built for Liberty Property Trust.
Conewago Enterprises Inc. utilizes roller compacted concrete on railroad intermodal projects as well as large distribution centers like this one built for Liberty Property Trust. - (Photo / Submitted)

When roller compacted concrete, or RCC, was initially developed in the 1970s by Canadian logging companies, it was more about function than form.

The logging companies needed large, paved log-sorting areas that could withstand heavy loads and tough winters. The new variety of concrete offered a solution that was more durable and less expensive than standard asphalt but, at that time, lacked a smooth, finished look.

RCC contains the same components as standard concrete — cement, water and crushed stone and sand. The primary differentiator is that RCC is a drier mix and can be placed with standard asphalt paving equipment and then immediately compacted by a vibrating roller. RCC can be placed without steel reinforcements, joints, forms or finish work, which results in significant cost savings on material and labor.

Over time, RCC has proven to be a much more durable solution under heavy loads and high traffic. It also requires minimal maintenance when compared to asphalt.

While RCC has its roots in the logging industry, it continues to gain prominence as a quick, durable and economic solution for our large-scale projects, including intermodal yards, distribution centers, military installations and dam construction as well as parking and staging areas. Our team has utilized RCC in dozens of projects in recent years throughout Central Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic.

RCC is an evolving product with new applications offering a more attractive look and smoother surfaces where aesthetics are a priority.

Many state highway agencies are also taking note and RCC is becoming a popular option for construction of low-speed roads and even residential and city streets when a thin asphalt overlay is applied. RCC is also a material of choice on fast-track road construction projects because it can be placed and ready for use quickly.

The use of RCC continues to gain momentum, and construction managers, engineers and business owners with construction needs are beginning to take notice. As asphalt prices continue to rise, count on RCC being sought out more frequently as an attractive, low-cost and highly durable alternative to asphalt paving.

Bill Heape is vice president of sitework for Conewago Enterprises Inc. in Adams County. He can be reached at bheape@conewago.com.

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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