Watching concrete and asphalt contractors pour asphalt is somewhat fascinating. You have dozens of workers trying to avoid the scorching hot tar and bitumen as it comes out of the asphalt machine and they are all trying really hard not to step on this hot, sticky stuff that could melt their soles and stick to their shoes. They are often seen wearing respirators as they try to hurriedly shovel and smooth this substance everywhere the asphalt is required. If you are not outside watching, you may only hear a muffled roar of machinery from indoors. If you step outside to watch this process, it helps to be prepared (and have customers or employees be prepared!) for all of the following.
Burning Smells That Sting Your Nose and Throat
Asphalt and bitumen are held together by burning tar. Burning tar has a very unique smell that seems crossed between brimstone and sulfur. It will sting your nose and throat, and it will be unpleasant to breathe. If you are having your business parking lot repaved, warn customers and employees about the smell and let them know that it might be better for them to come in any back or side door of the business if and when possible. This way, they do not have to deal with the smell, and they are out of the way of the construction crew.
Asphalt Paving Is LOUD
You have a lot of heavy machinery working to make this parking lot as smooth as it can be. Apart from the massive size of the bitumen and asphalt machine that keeps these materials molten hot until poured, you also have rolling pavers with their engines on, and a few other machines trying to spread the asphalt around. It is a cacophony of sound that you cannot talk through, so anyone coming into the business will not be heard outside and can only be heard inside. Even when the crew takes a meal break, the asphalt and bitumen machine has to keep running or the materials inside it would immediately cool and harden into a disastrous mess.
Asphalt Is Sticky
Without a doubt, this stuff is sticky! The contractor will rope off the entire parking lot for days until the asphalt is cooled and hardened. Stepping so much as a toe onto it at the moment will result in a chunk of this stuff sticking to the bottom of your shoe. It would require a chisel and a hammer to remove. Still, it has such a lovely sheen to it when fresh, and a smooth and very black slate color when it is dry and ready to drive or walk on.
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