Serving the community since 1922

Wasco looks to a Zipper for better roads

The Wasco City Council approved the purchase of equipment from Asphalt Zipper Inc. to increase city roads rehabilitation and reduce the cost of that work.

At present, the city undertakes numerous road and alley rehabilitation projects each year. Other than minor repairs, most is completed by contractors. Even though much of this work is paid for with grant funding, escalating material and labor costs and contractor workforce shortages limit the number of road projects completed each year.

Asphalt Zipper Inc. manufactures a line of equipment that makes pavement repair and rehabilitation efficient, quick and cost-effective. The "Zipper" is attached to a standard loader and contains its own engine, which grinds existing pavement in place rather than traditional removal, hauling and important steps. The Zipper will simultaneously incorporate additional base material if needed, preparing the roadbed for final grading, compaction and rolling.

In October of this year, a demonstration of the Zipper was conducted in Wasco. The Asphalt Zipper company brought one of their units to rehabilitate the alley between G Street and Highway 43, from Poso Avenue to 12th Street

A complete job of grinding, mixing, and leveling of approximately 500 feet of poor-quality alley surface to a depth of 10 inches was completed. The alley was then compacted with a rented roller, ready for vehicle traffic and paving. This work was completed in about four hours, including unloading the Zipper, overview by company representatives, safety and operations training with city staff and hands-on completion of the work by city staff. Once having some experience, staff believes the actual work could have been completed in less than half the time.

The Public Works Department found savings with the Zipper would be significant, with a 69% reduction on the grinding, grading and compacting tasks across four sample projects.

Further, it was found that dollar savings would vary by up to $2 per square foot. When in-house paving was added to the analysis, only minimal additional savings were projected.

In the end, the council agreed that purchasing the Zipper would address the rising costs of street and alley rehabilitation. The analysis by the Public Works Department showed significant potential savings, recouping capital costs in as few as three years.

A quote for the equipment in the amount of $296,307.31 was received from Asphalt Zipper, and the purchase of the equipment will be funded from High Speed Rail Resolution Agreement Funds already held by the city.

"Acquisition of the Asphalt Zipper will give our Public Works Department a fantastic new tool to maintain and improve the city's streets and allies," City Manager Scott Hurlbert said.


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