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Old 04-21-2016, 06:19 PM   #11
Flyndaran
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

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Originally Posted by starslayer View Post
Many of the ancient Roman roads were cobblestone, which would be absolutely miserable to drive on. They would also be damaged by high speed travel very quickly.
Maybe last ditch infrastructure placed knowing things were going downhill. Or lost high tech but still enough residual resources to do something for the later generations.
Okay, I'm reaching now, doubling down with my Roman ignorance. ;)
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Old 04-21-2016, 06:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

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Well if you had money and lacked earthquakes, I think concrete/cement can last thousands of years with minimal maintenance. I looking at you, Ancient Rome.
The Romans never built in areas prone to frost-heaving. Large concrete/cement sheets will generally be snapped at least in two, probably more - broken down and down until they're less than half the size of sidewalk pavers with a good amount around the joins simply reduced to gravel.

The real killer, regardless of your road type, is that the heaving causes a crack - and then water gets in the crack, and then the water freezes. This is one of the forces that sheers entire boulders off cliffs (and drops them on cars) - the other being sunlight in the summer causing expansion and flexing, which roads are subjected to as well. Get the crack from heaving in the winter, crack is levered by sunlight in the summer and ice in the winter. Road disintegrates.

I watched a bridge over the freeway near my old office undergo a rapid version of this - bridges are much worse because they're open underneath, so they freeze faster in the winter and then thaw faster in a warm snap. Over four years of neglect it went from an unremarkable road surface to derelict; I wouldn't drive on it faster than about 20km/hr out of fear it would ruin my car. It had to be closed abruptly and dismantled when big chunks of the concrete fell onto the freeway below.
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Old 04-21-2016, 07:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

I think many of the issues to do with road conditions are going to be very dependant one the local terrain, geology, weather etc. Roading engineers have to deal with a huge range of challenges (and budgets)

Locally it is probably 2 winters until the roads though the local hills become impassable. (State highway).

On the other hand there was a stretch of road(again former state highway) on the last farm I managed that hadn't been used in 40 years and was just covered in grass.

Gravel/metal roads decay quickly as the road run off is ideal for plant growth, this fills up the water tables and means that next winter the water scours the road surface.
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Old 04-21-2016, 07:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

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The real killer, regardless of your road type, is that the heaving causes a crack - and then water gets in the crack, and then the water freezes. This is one of the forces that sheers entire boulders off cliffs (and drops them on cars) - the other being sunlight in the summer causing expansion and flexing, which roads are subjected to as well. Get the crack from heaving in the winter, crack is levered by sunlight in the summer and ice in the winter. Road disintegrates.
Once you get enough of a crack to fit a little dirt and a seed, give it a few more years and it isn't a road anymore. It's a new growth forest with a weirdly rocky streak.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

Frost, water, and traffic are concerns but according to one paving company site, asphalt roads start breaking down in 3-4 years as the asphalt binder becomes more brittle. With sealing and a good maintenance program (something probably lacking in AtE), a properly engineered asphalt road can last more than 25 years (same source). I would suspect on that basis that most roadways will, at best, have been reduced to gravel if a couple of generations, where a generation is about twenty years, have passed. That around 25 year mark can be lessened given: heavy traffic (not too likely AtE itself but it may have been scheduled for maintenance that just never happened), water, frost heaving, or chemical action or any combination of those factors. (Gas and oil aren't good for an asphalt roadway either.)

Even if a roadway remains reasonably intact, signage and markings won't. Anyone with a vehicle that performs at levels near current vehicles is going to need to be alert for sharp corners, places where speed should be reduced, possible rockslide areas, pavement that is slippery when wet, bridges that ice over before the rest of the roadway, steep gradients, animal crossings and hidden entrances.

Aids such as rumble strips, cat's eyes and bott's dots will likely be absent by this time, so the driver will need some form of regime that keeps him alert while behind the wheel.

Gullies/ditches are unlikely to have been maintained, so there will be extensive sections that have been water damaged and, while not the issue it would be today, vegetation has likely grown right up to the edge of the roadway and vision at intersections is badly obstructed. For the occasional surprise, the odd tree might have grown up through the middle of the roadway thanks to a convenient crack the seed landed in.

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Old 04-21-2016, 08:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

One thing with concrete structures is how rust resistant the reinforcement is. With basic steels once water gets in then rust will break the concrete from within.
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:20 PM   #17
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

There was another AtE thread a couple weeks ago that may be of interest. Mostly about bicycles, but road decay got discussed as well.
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=142567
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Old 04-21-2016, 10:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/pr...on/ppc0621.cfm

"a highway is constructed for $508,000 per lane-mile to last 25 years without any preservation activity. After 25 years, the highway must be completely reconstructed at a cost of $490,000 per lane-mile."
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Old 04-21-2016, 10:30 PM   #19
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

In my hometown there's a few blocks of lightly used road that is rumored to have been paved in concrete decades ago (like when the city first laid concrete roads for automobiles) and never touched. I can vouch that ever since I heard that rumor (maybe 20+ years ago) I've never see it repaved. The road has a few cracks, but not into small pieces. Like maybe a city block being in ten total pieces. The sidewalks down the side of it are in worse shape.

Mostly it was my friends condemning the fact the asphalt roads it connected to tore themselves to pieces every winter with potholes and needed a resurfacing every decade or so. My guess though is the road surface is a good material and it gets just enough traffic to prevent plants from breaking it up.
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Old 04-21-2016, 10:59 PM   #20
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Default Re: [AtE] Condition of Highways

So in my setting, I have a few monastic orders of mutants doing charity works because they believe their mutations are punishments from God, and they need to atone. How hard would it be for a monastic order with minimal resources to maintain the roads?
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