If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know that our climate is pretty unique. Other than a few very hot or very cold days per year, we can generally count on mild, dry summers and cool, wet winters. However, as we experienced earlier this year, it’s not out of the question to get a surprise blizzard or two. In our region, we also tend to get snowfall that is particularly hazardous and damaging to asphalt or concrete. You might also be surprised to learn that it isn’t the snow itself that causes most winter damage to your parking lot or roadway surface – it’s the thaw after the fact. The best way to avoid major damage and unsafe road conditions if winter weather hits is to be prepared.
The benefits of parking lot and roadway maintenance are numerous. In addition to maintaining smooth, safe surfaces for pedestrians and motorists, taking some preventative measures can increase the lifespan of your asphalt, saving money and headaches down the road. Here are our top tips for preparing your parking lot for winter and keeping it safe and strong all winter long:
- Get a consultation. At least once a year, public and private roadways, parking lots, and garages should be assessed by a professional who can identify opportunities for preventative treatments or note features that should be repaired. Your consultant can also identify potential safety improvements including updating markings, signage, and traffic flow.
- Fix small problems before they become big problems. Pay attention to pooling water, which can lead to perilous potholes, and make sure to repair potholes when they appear rather than waiting for them to become bigger and more dangerous. Remember – a small crack today can turn into a pothole tomorrow.
- Timing is everything. Your consultant can advise on what measures you should be taking to prepare and protect your lot from winter weather, but many services are best done in warmer weather. Some of our services such as seal coating, crack filling, and pavement striping should be done at specific times of year.
- Keep an eye on visibility. If bad weather hits, it’s vital that drivers are able to see markings and signage as best they can. Make sure your striping is clear enough to see through fog or a light coating of snow and ice. Wayfinding and safety signage should be clean and sturdy.
- Shovel it up! Frequent shoveling of even small quantities of snow can prevent snow and dirt from piling up, compacting, and becoming increasingly difficult to remove throughout the season.
- Sweep it up! Having your parking lot swept once a quarter or more can keep dirt and sand from collecting on road surfaces. In addition to maintaining a neat look, this makes de-icing easier if and when the time comes.
With winter just around the corner, this might be the last chance to protect your parking lot or asphalt surfaces from winter damage. Give us a call to get the ball rolling on winterizing your parking lot, and we’ll help you devise a plan to keep your lot, driveway, or garage looking great and functioning safely all year with proper roadway maintenance.