CHAPTER FIVE: Ram talks to Sammy

Ram pulled up beside Sammy.

"Good morning, Mr. Ram!" Sammy said.

"Good morning to you too!" Ram replied.

"Listen, Sammy, I was talking with John Deere yesterday, and he said he saw Bull Dozer sling that mud on the road that you and Wanda cleaned up. Is that true?"

"Well, yeah." Sammy said. "But my mother always said I should respect my elders. Bull has been with this company for a long time. So I didn't make a big deal out of it. "

"Oh, I'm not mad at you Sammy! You're one of the biggest assets this company has!"

Sammy was embarrassed. "Why thank you, Mr. Ram, but I don't think I'm anything special. Most of the time I'm parked by myself on the side of the road."

"But that's because you're a specialist!" said Ram. "You know getting to drive you is almost a reward for the Workers, didn't you?"

"Really!"Sammy said. "Why?"

"Well, for one thing you've got really good air conditioning. You also have that radio somebody installed. When you sweep the road, it's pretty hard to mess up. About the worst thing you could do is miss a spot and have to go back. Plus a lot of the guys say you're fun to drive, with that rear steering and all. You can turn on a dime!"

Come on! let me show you something!" Ram said.

Sammy followed Ram to a section of the old 2 lane road they were making into a 4 lane divided highway. Most of it had already been eaten by Greta Grinder, but there were still some sections undisturbed. The pavement looked terrible! Huge chunks had come off, and you could even see old painted stripes on the pavement that had been poorly re-paved.

"See that?" Ram said. That's what happens when a sweeper truck does a bad job. The least bit of sand across the road under the traction coat will make it delaminate after a year or two.

"Well I get up all the sand I can!" Sammy said. "I know, Sammy! You always do a GREAT job. But I AM concerned about Bull and his picking on you. Is it a big problem?"

"No way!" Sammy said. "I know he's just trying to be funny."

"OK!" Ram said. "Have a great day, Sammy!"

"You too, Mr. Ram!" Sammy replied.

4 laneing an existing road can be tricky

Building any road can be tricky. Putting asphalt down where there used to be only woods or farmland is difficult, but it's easier than working on an existing road. A completely new road is rare. Most road projects involve repaving or adding additional lanes to an existing road.

This causes all sorts of problems: like how to deal with the already out of control traffic, and try not to make it THAT much worse.

Building a road while people are still using it

Usually a new roadbed will be constructed parallel to the existing road. They put down all the layers except the final "traction" coat. After 4 inches of asphalt are laid, traffic will be diverted onto the new roadway. The cars driving on it will further compact the asphalt, and reveal any sinking areas or other problems. In the meantime, the old pavement is ground off, and the "marl" (ground up pavement) is sent to the asphalt plant to be reused. When new asphalt is laid on the roadbed of the old road, traffic is diverted back to it, to compact it for awhile. Then the traction coat is applied. First on one set of lanes, and then the other.


Bob was putting out orange barrels. A 5 mile stretch of Phase "A" had passed Ranger's inspection, and were ready for some traffic to compact and test the new asphalt. The old road was clear of traffic: it's days were over. Soon Peter would unload Greta Grinder, and she'd devour the pavement and send the Mack brothers off with the ground up pavement (marl). They'd take it to the asphalt plant, where it would be melted down with new asphalt. The Mack brothers would then haul the fresh asphalt to Polly Paver for her to lay back down, in a new road!

Greta Grinder

Peter pulled up and dropped Greta off by the old 2 lane pavement. Sammy decided to drop by and say hi.

"Hey Greta! How have you been?" Sammy said.

"Been great, Sammy! Pretty hungry though: that old asphalt looks DEEE-LISH!" Greta replied. "Say, is my bestie Polly around?"

"Sure is! I was talking to her just this morning! Sammy said.

"She should be finished laying down the traction coat on the South end of Phase "A" pretty soon. She'll be glad to see you! She was feeling a bit down this morning."

"Really?" said Greta. "What's she down about?"

"Oh, that Bull Dozer said some mean stuff to her. Polly was pretty upset" Sammy replied.

"Well if you ask me that Bull Dozer is an overfilled drum of drain oil." Greta said.

"Well, I see your crew has showed up: I'll let you get to work! Sammy replied.

"Yeah. good seeing you!" Greta said

"Good to be seen!" Sammy replied.

Greta and her crew got to work. One of the mack brothers backed up to her, and she began to fill his dump bed with marl. Soon there would be nothing left of the old pavement.

NEXT: Chapter (6) "Ram talks to Bull"



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