Our roads last longer, install way faster, and save more than 40% over their service life.

You can see the installation we did last Saturday here.

AMA about entrepreneurship, engineering, roads, or anything else that interests you about this.

Proof:

Entrepreneurs Dream of Jumping on Super-Fast Network

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Tim Sylvester has a vision for the road of the future

ENR Midwest Top 20 Under 40 2013

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Comments: 128 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

Gnomojo12 karma

What can you say about colder temperate climates like the northern states and Canada. Our asphalt takes a hell of a beating here every spring after the thaw. Is this a viable alternative to asphalt considering the frost damage?

Resilient_Roads8 karma

Absolutely, and it can extend the work season since you can cast the slabs indoors.

GuitarStars-23 karma

I don't think you get it. First of all there would be no extended work season, because you cant put road down in permafrost. Second, all of your slabs would crack after the first winter. Our asphalt has tons of rubber in it to allow for leeway (10% stretch in any direction I believe?); there is no way concrete would even come close to holding up, even with separators.

Not even to mention the fall after that, when all of your cracks suddenly have water freeze inside them.

Just wanted to say thanks for showing us you don't know what your talking about or care to research?

Resilient_Roads18 karma

You're clearly the expert here, so why don't you do an AMA to tell everyone what I'm doing wrong? It's not like Michigan DOT has kind of led the way in this research specifically because it has the potential to outperform existing methods in difficult environments. And one of the biggest precast pavement companies hasn't installed most of their pavements in the northeast, or anything. I doubt upstate New York sees much snow, and Canada's practically summer all year. I bet Colorado never has cold weather.

mikrowiesel6 karma

That's how they built the Autobahn in the GDR. http://torsti.pp.fi/motorway/1986loma001x.jpg

Resilient_Roads2 karma

Very neat, thanks for sharing!

btcbible6 karma

Wow, this is really amazing stuff. You're building the roads of the future. Have some currency of the future: +/u/bitcointip @Resilient_Roads 4 internets verify

Resilient_Roads6 karma

Wow very cool, thanks for the tip! This is my first BTC tip! :)

Niklasedg6 karma

how soon do you expect these things to be put to use?

Resilient_Roads12 karma

Today!

One of our competitors has built more than 25 miles of precast highways. There's been more than a dozen DOT projects using precast, and nearly half the states have implemented specifications that allow them to use precast pavements.

As far as I know, we're the only company that does precast roads for cities, as opposed to highways, and this was one of our demo sites. We expect to sell a couple miles of precast streets in the next year, and keep growing from there.

grand_marquis1 karma

25 miles seems like a small test area. How long before you see the results (over time) and start production on a serious scale?

Or do you already have thousands of miles of freeway stashed away for when the demand picks up?

You said it's quicker to build and cost effective (over time), what about labor? How many man hours does it take to fabricate, transport and install (install?) a mile of your road vs, the conventional methods?

Is it intended to be manufactured in a central location and shipped to the site? At what distance does it become cost effective to build a new manufacturing center? Is there a way you could create a semi-mobile fabrication site?

How modular (not sure if that's the right word) or versatile is your product. Does it allow for differences in terrain (sandy soil vs clay. Are the sections crowned or is there some other drainage system built into it?

Edit: got carried away in my excitement, you've already answered some of these questions.

Also, what is the strength or max capacity of your road vs current designs. How do bridges and overpasses effect the efficiency of your Fabricating system?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

25 miles seems like a small test area.

Oh it's tiny, but every industry starts somewhere, and this is an extremely conservative industry that only got started about 10 years ago.

How long before you see the results (over time) and start production on a serious scale?

That entirely depends on how many projects we can get specified for.

Or do you already have thousands of miles of freeway stashed away for when the demand picks up?

It's all built for the specific site it will be installed at.

You said it's quicker to build and cost effective (over time), what about labor? How many man hours does it take to fabricate, transport and install (install?) a mile of your road vs, the conventional methods?

On-site we can go from about 20 people working 12 hours to 4-5 people working 6-8 hours. Off-site, I'm not sure what the production labor looks like, but if the finished product is competitively priced against conventional, it's not really even a consideration. The biggest time sink off-site is setting up the beds for a pour.

The install you saw went 1.5x faster than traditional for the entire job, 5x faster than traditional if the crew maintained the install rate for the last 3 slabs.

Is it intended to be manufactured in a central location and shipped to the site? At what distance does it become cost effective to build a new manufacturing center? Is there a way you could create a semi-mobile fabrication site?

It's produced at whatever local production facility is qualified and submits the winning bid. Distance is generally around 100-150 miles before it starts to be an issue. No reason to build an new plant, these things are literally all over the country, making bridge parts and jersey barriers.

How modular (not sure if that's the right word) or versatile is your product. Does it allow for differences in terrain (sandy soil vs clay. Are the sections crowned or is there some other drainage system built into it?

More modular than competing products! Highly versatile, it's been used from Michigan to Texas to Hawaii to New York. Slabs can be crowned if need be, and yes, we can cast in drainage, curbs & gutters, whatever, most water control products are precast these days anyway.

Also, what is the strength or max capacity of your road vs current designs.

Our products are built to span, that is, they are structural products designed to bear loads, unlike asphalt which just smushes or breaks. I hesitate to provide exact numbers because I'm not sure what someone might try to compare us to, but based on our calculations, our pavements in free space have about five to eight times the load bearing capacity of a traditional bridge deck.

How do bridges and overpasses effect the efficiency of your Fabricating system?

This is one of the areas where these technologies were originally developed.

RedditsLord6 karma

Hello! Civil engineer here. I have a masters in concrete and i'm just not seeing how the drainage would work. Do you use pre stressed steel in some way? I'm not home but will defenetely study this product.

Concrete away sir!

Resilient_Roads3 karma

Hello Mr. Civil! I'm actually an Electrical & Computer Engineer, so I've learned a lot about civil & structural over the last two years.

i'm just not seeing how the drainage would work

On this site, we have a consistent grade, so we just use sheet drainage to a culvert at the low end. For a true roadway, we'd cast the crown into the slab itself. You can divert water to handling systems like the culvert, as you would for a traditional pavement, or you can put a channel of drainable base along the joints and leave the joints open, for a kind of semi-pervious surface.

I'm very interested in precasting pervious concrete slabs, but they have a whole host of engineering issues to resolve first.

Do you use pre stressed steel in some way

Yes we used 5 traverse pieces of 7-wire strand at 270 kPa if I remember my figures correctly.

I'm not home but will defenetely study this product.

We're still currently authoring the complete spec handbook, but I can share some cut sheets if you'd like, send me an email to tim on integratedroadways.com and I'll give you the cut sheet.

RedditsLord2 karma

Hello! First of all, thank you for your reply Mr. Tim Sykvester!

I finally got the time to check your website and that road repairing process with grout filling is tiking my engineer sense - loved it and left me curious about it.

Nevertheless what I meant about drainage is that there are other pavement types that have some level of water absortion, for example the bitouminous roads that are traditionaly considered the cheapest solution. This brings me to another question - the concrete based pavements have great strenght, but in pavements the most important mechanical characteristics are splitting tensile strenght and abrasion resistance. However, not having at least some water absortion usually means more car accidents due to water skying (as the rain pours, the culvert method sometimes fails to drain the peak-caudal fast enough; this leads to a continuous water surface in the pavement that is harmfull to car breaking, even with ABS). I've been thinking and I believe I might have a solution for this, something you would might even find cheaper and "greener".

This method is similar to the one used in big span bridges (at least here in Europe).

I'm super happy to see inovations in my field and congradulate you for your ballsy move to seize such an opportunity. I'll contact you through the site.

Thank you for the AMA (want more of these) & again, Congrats

Resilient_Roads1 karma

I've been thinking and I believe I might have a solution for this, something you would might even find cheaper and "greener".

I'd certainly love to hear it! I'd like to eventually offer a pervious, catalytic, carbon-capture pavement, but that's some ways off.

liquidaria5 karma

Would you liken it to laying out tracks for a model train set albeit much more elaborate and large scale?

Resilient_Roads7 karma

Legos and those wooden train sets are very much inspirations for this kind of stuff.

mudclub5 karma

What the cost per mile versus tradition road building techniques?

Resilient_Roads16 karma

Five years ago, it was two or three times the price of poured concrete. Now, we're down to a 50-80% premium against concrete. In five years, it'll be the same price or 20% more depending on the job. Within ten years, it'll be about 20% less than poured concrete.

This is the same dynamic that precast has seen in precast architectural products, when precast architectural was new, it was twice the price, now it's 20% less than poured. The same happened with box culverts, precast pipe, and all the other things precast is used for.

The biggest thing to remember is that asphalt and concrete have had more than 1,000,000 miles installed to reduce their costs - precast pavement has only had about 50 miles installed so far. As we increase our volume, prices will fall dramatically.

Another consideration is that by embedding ITS products into the pavement, we can provide subscription based services such as wireless EV charging and driverless car navigation that can actually generate enough revenue that the road can pay for itself - but that's a little bit, er, well... down the road.

tynman1 karma

How does the installation labor cost compare to traditional poured concrete? Any savings in time?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

Not sure exactly what the labor cost breaks out to since we bid the work out to a contractor for the installation, but considering that it installs about 3x faster than poured, you're probably looking at around 1/3 the labor cost, but with greater mat'l & equipment costs.

thirdknife4 karma

How much wide a road can be made using your technique?

Resilient_Roads7 karma

That is a way more complicated question than you might have realized!

I'm going to leave out a LOT of detail, but the maximum width is about 36', or about three lanes. Most of the slabs shown here are just over 20' wide, or about two narrow lanes. Some of them are about 10' wide, or one narrow lane (a standard lane is 12-14' wide).

For highways, you generally use a multiple lane width slab, and for municipalities, you generally use a single lane width slab. On this site we used both, and I can explain why if you care to know.

BeriAlpha6 karma

I'm interested.

Resilient_Roads4 karma

Sure. We use a single lane width slab for ease of transport, and because it means you only have to shut down one lane to do the service.

On this site, we wanted to demonstrate that a unified, modifiable design can work for both municipalities, and highways, and munis & highways are tied together by roads, so they systems have to be mutually compatible at some point.

So, in the center section, you can see we transition from a two-lane slab to two single-lane slabs, put in a few rows of single lanes to show that we can do so accurately and that their corners match, then transition back to two-lane slabs to show that we can connect to each type from both sides.

Kind of esoteric but having this type of connection already in service solves a lot of potential objections from clients because they can see that it does in fact work.

Thameus5 karma

So in "real cities" with interstates that have eight lanes each way, what's the strategy?

Resilient_Roads5 karma

Well, in real cities you wouldn't ever want to shut down the entire width of the highway anyway, so you'd shut them down a couple lanes at a time with multi-lane width slabs. City streets are usually somewhat narrower, so you use the single lane width slab. It's all about reducing traffic impact.

blubberflakes3 karma

This is pretty cool. I visualized the process as a giant roll of road being played out from the back of a truck.

Resilient_Roads3 karma

Hahaha, you're not the first! Glad you like it!

Summon_Jet_Truck3 karma

Does the wireless charging or navigation leak any information about what car is driving on a road, or who is driving it?

Resilient_Roads2 karma

It's analogous to your cellular subscription - your service provider knows who you called and where you were, as a necessity of providing the service. But that doesn't mean it's public info that anyone can access.

tweakingforjesus3 karma

How do you handle leveling the ground under each slab? Do you try to level it as best as possible and the slab tamps down the base material? Or do you make it slightly concave and press in substrate afterward?

It seams to me that when compared cast-in-place, a precast slab will be more susceptible to having bit of a void underneath that will collect water and start frost heaving.

Resilient_Roads3 karma

It's mostly standard base prep tolerances & compaction, nothing crazy. You pump a bedding grout after installation to fill any voids.

yabba_dabba_doo4 karma

What about more 'swampy' terrains? Can you place it on a sand bedding and allow for settling?

Resilient_Roads2 karma

We haven't done any work in that environment yet, but we could certainly grease the dowels on each slab so that they have some give to them, and could shift around to an extent without losing load transfer. It's definitely something that is both interesting, but also needs more study.

As for a sand bed, they used a partial sand bed on I-57 in Sikeston, MO when they installed precast, because the crane rutted their asphalt bedding. It's not unheard of. Some of our competitors use rock dust for bedding.

Blaneblane3 karma

Are you guys hiring? As an engineering student I've always wondered why pre-fab segments were never used in construction. Ideal and controlled mixes, perfect "weather" conditions for curing. Really neat stuff. Though, I am a little skeptical on how you could keep at 2%(or greater) grade from centerline without leaving a large gap down the center. Thanks for sharing! Awesome stuff.

Resilient_Roads1 karma

We're not hiring currently, but if things go well you'll probably have a chance to work with us soon enough.

Prefab sections are very often used in modern construction, you can build entire buildings with partially preassembled steel, and precast concrete.

Though, I am a little skeptical on how you could keep at 2%(or greater) grade from centerline without leaving a large gap down the center.

This site has about a 2% drop and sheet drains to a culvert, so there's no crowning. If there were a crown, there's two ways - either peak the slab during casting, or cast it in two parts where one side is slightly higher than the other.

Thanks for sharing! Awesome stuff.

Glad you like it, thanks for reading!

Sierra0042 karma

How would this system work if maintainance was required under the road surface? From your pictures they seem to be entirely interlocking or can you hot swap sections out? E.g there is a crack over one section in the middle of the road so you pull out that slab and insert a new slab.

Resilient_Roads2 karma

How would this system work if maintainance was required under the road surface?

We offer utility access slabs that can be removed after installation to access utilities.

E.g there is a crack over one section in the middle of the road so you pull out that slab and insert a new slab.

Cut along the joints with a pavement saw, lift out the bad slab, drill out new dowel pockets into the existing pavement, drop in a new slab, extend its dowels (we have a patented method on this), et viola, you're done!

blackday442 karma

We have big issue with potholes here in Edmonton. Between the cold weather, and the random warming, and all the snow and melting and whatnot....we have big potholes.

Do the slabs ever get potholes? If so, how are they fixed?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

Nope, they don't get potholes, the pavement is extremely strong & durable.

Normally, a pothole for a concrete pavement develops because water gets under the slab, and washes out part of the base. The weight of the vehicles pushes the concrete down, but there's no base, and so the concrete cracks. Then it freezes, and the water expands into ice, pushing up on the pavement from below, cracking it more. The cracks get bad enough that the pavement turns into basically gravel, and there's your pothole.

Within six months, we'll be able to include strain gauges in our pavements that can tell us about this before the pavement has a chance to crack. We'd send someone out to pull the slab, solve the drainage issue, fix the base, and replace the slab.

No potholes.

blackday442 karma

That is awesome. However, we use asphalt, not concrete, here. What are the differences between them? Besides the obvious.

Resilient_Roads1 karma

97% of city pavements are asphalt because it's cheapest to put down and easy to dig through if you need to access utilities.

Asphalt lasts 7-15 years but needs service every couple years. Patches are easy, but low quality. Concrete lasts 25-35 years but has a cure time, is tougher to fix, and harder to get to utilities.

Our products should last 50 years with minimal service or maintenance, and it's fairly easy to remove and replace a slab if need be. We have utility access slabs that can go over utilities so that you can pull out the piece, fix the problem, and put the same piece back in.

LADeviation2 karma

Any internships available?

Resilient_Roads2 karma

We're not currently hiring, but if things go as we plan, that should change soon. Thanks for asking!

Dohabee2 karma

Do you have any data on transportation cost of your system vs. a traditional concrete truck? I would guess you save quite a bit of weight because your slabs are already dry and you are not hauling around the extra water weight like you would with wet concrete.

Resilient_Roads2 karma

Concrete actually cures, not dries. What that means is it absorbs the water. In hot weather, you put wet burlap on concrete so that it doesn't dry out, which makes it flaky and crumbly.

In the end you're transporting about the same amount of material to the site, so there's no real difference there.

Eff3ction2 karma

I've thought this would happen since I was a kid, and I'm wondering now, is there any plans/ anything you have heard of, of future roads essentially having something that limits vehicles speed on them? Some signal sent to the car that would just, say, on the freeway, the speed limit being 70, would actually prevent the car from traveling over 70?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

A basic rule of thumb is that it's much easier to enable something than it is to stop something. If you have driverless cars, there's no such thing as speeding, and the cars can go way faster while still being safe.

Eff3ction2 karma

I've always feared this. I LOVE driving, and I am NOT looking forward to the day I just sit and get escorted somewhere by a self driving car. :(

Resilient_Roads1 karma

So keep driving! Driverless mode is a safety device and feature, not a requirement. Heck, if driverless cars get good enough maybe speeding won't matter because the car will take over before you can cause an accident.

Eff3ction2 karma

And am I understanding the charging thing right of essentuially there would be something inthe road sending a wireless charge (Like those pads for phones) that would charge as they drive?

If so, I seriously had all this shit planned out when i was like 10.

You know, aside from the science and actual how it all works. I'm more of an idea rat.

Resilient_Roads1 karma

And am I understanding the charging thing right of essentuially there would be something inthe road sending a wireless charge (Like those pads for phones) that would charge as they drive?

Yes.

If so, I seriously had all this shit planned out when i was like 10. You know, aside from the science and actual how it all works. I'm more of an idea rat.

Me too. At some point I decided to take the steps required to actually make some of them real. I mean, it's a good way to make a living. Better than working for someone I don't like in a cubicle somewhere.

Eff3ction2 karma

I need to go back in time and patent this stuff. Don't worry, I'll loop you in, too.

Resilient_Roads1 karma

I can show prior art back to 1997 at least. ;)

Eff3ction2 karma

Hah! I was 10 in 1993!

Fuck I'm old :(

Resilient_Roads2 karma

I'm not entirely sure the Patent Office accepts crayon drawings and stickers. ;)

drdorken2 karma

awesome. Is this more environment friendly than the standard way of paving?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

Sure could be eventually, but we have to take it one step at a time. If we introduce a wildly different system it'd be too much for people to accept, nobody would buy it, and we'd go out of business before we got to the really cool stuff.

But within ten years, I'd like to be able to offer a pervious1 catalytic2 carbon capture3 smart* pavement.

* In the sense that it provides navigation information for driverless cars. The environmental impact is that driverless cars are 90% safer and 90% more fuel efficient.

drdorken2 karma

That's awesome doggie. I'm looking forward to it.

Resilient_Roads2 karma

Me too! :D

I_smell_awesome2 karma

Neat.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

ThatDeznaGuy2 karma

Awesome! I have been thinking about prefab a whole bunch lately, as it crossed my mind as an interesting design choice for non-structural projects.

  • Would you set different standards for each grade of road?

  • What kind of load bearings were you considering for each slab? Erm, what inspired you to go with roads as opposed to anything else?

  • And, more because my thoughts were floating in this direction, would you consider a set of slabs that also had reinforced hollow sections below for electrical/phone line cables?

Resilient_Roads3 karma

Would you set different standards for each grade of road?

Sure, it's just a question of how long you want it to last, and how much traffic it's going to see. Our stuff is way stronger than normal pavements, so it should last a very long time.

What kind of load bearings were you considering for each slab?

These are way over-designed, this site is representative of a pavement that would handle 30-45K vehicles per day for 50 years w/o any trouble.

what inspired you to go with roads as opposed to anything else?

As far as I can tell, improving transportation is the best way I can positively effect the future course of mankind.

And, more because my thoughts were floating in this direction, would you consider a set of slabs that also had reinforced hollow sections below for electrical/phone line cables?

Yes, and no.

Yes, because having a fixed, protected utility corridor that isn't buried and is easily accessible for repairs or upgrades is a necessity for modern infrastructure.

No, because you need the slabs to be able to be removed and replaced if they need service, and you don't want to have to mess with cables whenever that happens. In addition, you'll want to get at the cables sometimes and you don't want to have to mess with the road to do that.

Our solution is do what you're saying, but under the sidewalks. Utility corridors with fittings pre-installed so that a utility can easily add or upgrade lines. That way nobody gets hurt digging into a utility line, and fixing the utilities doesn't disturb the road.

ThatDeznaGuy2 karma

Cool, thanks for the detailed response. You are very good at this AMA stuff, I might add!

I thought of the hollowed sections as more of a last resort type thing, or as a possibility for a multistory road system (This is dream of mine for larger cities, but it's not something that is feasible right now).

Resilient_Roads1 karma

Thank you, I very much enjoy the chance to share my somewhat obscure work! :)

I've often thought that in tight urban corridors, we might eventually see someone convert a surface highway to one-way, then put the other direction on top of it. That would be something to see!

vtslim2 karma

where does one invest?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

As I'm sure you're aware, a company like mine cannot engage in a public solicitation of investment.

Private inquiries can be made if you contact me through our website at integratedroadways.com.

vtslim2 karma

was just wondering if you were publicly traded

Resilient_Roads2 karma

Nope, we're privately held right now, and currently raising our Series A.

GRadde2 karma

A bit late to the party, but I have a few questions: how big a height difference between the slabs can there be? Will you be using a sealant to go between the slabs, and what would be the height difference between the top/bottom of the seal and the slabs? What I'm really getting at is this: will driving on these roads create a rythmic thumping noise as one passes from one slab to the next, like the straight on Sebring?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

how big a height difference between the slabs can there be?

1/4" per 25'. So basically each joint has to be accurate to about 1/8". We're working on making it even smoother, though.

Will you be using a sealant to go between the slabs, and what would be the height difference between the top/bottom of the seal and the slabs?

You can grout between them, and if you do, then you use a joint sealant that sits beneath the edges.

What I'm really getting at is this: will driving on these roads create a rythmic thumping noise as one passes from one slab to the next

The slabs we put in on I-35 don't make any noise at all, joint repairs normally go "shoop shoop" when you drive over them, ours are completely silent.

GRadde2 karma

Thanks! Sounds like an awesome product all round. I hope my questions haven't already been asked too much, I only searched a few key words and a few synonyms before posting.

Resilient_Roads1 karma

Oh no you're fine, I rarely get a chance to talk about what I do. :)

dgaaaaaaaaaa2 karma

Super cool. Is there any support for the road from below? I can see the connection between adjacent blocks. Just don't want the road to slip off. :) Great Job!

Resilient_Roads2 karma

Hahaha, yeah, we grout the slabs after installation so that they are "glued" to the base. Thanks!

BeriAlpha2 karma

Does your tech make it easier to remove or even reposition roads?

I have dreams of city planners being able to work like SimCity. Need a road here? Make one. Road isn't being used? Remove it.

Really, overall: I want you to make high-tech roads, so we can get self-driving and electric cars rolled out sooner, so we can start being more efficient with our space usage, so we can start tearing up some of these old roads and reclaiming the space. I'm talking about replacing a three-lane road from the 40's with a one-lane intelligent roadway.

I live in San Francisco, and being able to shrink our streets by half would be phenomenal. People could have backyards again.

Resilient_Roads1 karma

Does your tech make it easier to remove or even reposition roads?

Kinda-sorta. We have removable slabs that you can pull out to access utilities. If you wanted to splurge, we could pave the whole road that way.

Really, overall: I want you to make high-tech roads, so we can get self-driving and electric cars rolled out sooner, so we can start being more efficient with our space usage, so we can start tearing up some of these old roads and reclaiming the space. I'm talking about replacing a three-lane road from the 40's with a one-lane intelligent roadway.

I want that too.

I live in San Francisco, and being able to shrink our streets by half would be phenomenal. People could have backyards again.

It's unlikely that the streets would shrink, more so that the street would be redesigned to accomodate mixed modes of transit, such as a street car, bikes, scooters, pedi-cabs, pedestrians, etc.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

Resilient_Roads3 karma

Bends and hills are no problem at all, actually. The length of each span is short enough that you can go right up a hill without any problems, and if you look closely, you can see that this site picks up about 6' of rise over the 200' span. Not a whole lot but it's there.

Even if you have a more aggressive elevation change, you can warp the slabs during casting.

Regarding curves, no problem at all - either offset the slabs, or cast them as trapezoids.

Not sure what you mean about prefabbing Cisco, though.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

Resilient_Roads5 karma

Damn, that must take a hell of a lot of surveying...or a lot of luck!

Well the site was being re-developed, which gives you a ton of grade control, and is having all it's hardpoint tie-ins set by poured concrete post-installation.

What you're really concerned about is just matching the edge profiles without leaving too much of a void underneath the slab.

I thought it might get tricky

You gotta pick your battles and use each as an opportunity to increase your capabilities. I mean you start with Glass Joe and work your way up to Mike.

freemarket272 karma

Is there corruption in the road construction business?

Resilient_Roads0 karma

Not that I've seen. Most of the people I've met have been extremely nice and helpful.

thegreatgazoo2 karma

How do you transport the slabs if you are building an entire road? Can they go by rail?

Any difference in the underneath prep work?

Can they use this for bridge decks?

Why does road construction take so long? I've seen it take years to get new lanes on the inside of an interstate? Why not start the excavation on one end, follow them with the gravel and rebar crew, and then the top layer crew?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

How do you transport the slabs if you are building an entire road?

They come out on flatbed trucks a half dozen at a time, in the right order for us to install them.

Can they go by rail?

Sure can, our competitors do this all the time. Our philosophy is somewhat different, though - we always source production from a local facility. Everyone's happier when they know that most of the money is staying in the local community, and it makes it much easier for us to expand into new regions with very little cost of setting up operations since we just use an existing facility.

Any difference in the underneath prep work?

Pretty much the same stuff, but a little more precise.

Can they use this for bridge decks?

Already do! Texas bought $2B worth of precast bridge underlays a couple years ago.

Why does road construction take so long?

This is a very complicated question that has many factors, including the expenses, the logistics, and the sheer number of man-hours it takes to get the work finished. That's one reason our product can make such a big impact - you can build the road at the same time you're preparing the base, so that when the base is ready, you can just drop the road in. Nothing speeds up a process like parallelization!

Why not start the excavation on one end, follow them with the gravel and rebar crew, and then the top layer crew?

Believe it or not, the coordination logistics on that kind of just-in-time operation are way beyond the sophistication of most of the contractors who do the work. The guys that are qualified to time a project so precisely prefer to tackle the really big projects, where their skills are most useful & valuable, leaving the smaller municipal projects to companies that aren't quite as tightly run.

jegues2 karma

As a young electrical engineer I aspire to one day have my own engineering firm.

Any advice for an upcoming engineering entrepreneur such as myself?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

Learn Project Management, and take business courses too! Also, never stop learning - I work with guys who are WAY more experienced than me, and their advice is invaluable. Just because I'm doing something differently doesn't mean they don't know their stuff inside and out.

dmanww2 karma

Any specific program for project management? Prince2, etc

Or does it not really matter

Resilient_Roads1 karma

I don't know enough about the different versions to say, all I know is my certification has come in extremely handy.

Adamtwentywun2 karma

What is your educational background? How did you get started with this type of work?

Resilient_Roads2 karma

I have a degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering, and certifications in Project Management and Entrepreneurship.

I got started because I thought we needed a new way to build roads that was faster and lasted longer, and I majored in ECE because I realized that a prefab road was a great platform for embedded systems that can provide new transportation services.

8cuban2 karma

How do you ensure slab stability and water ingress over time, especially in a climate with freeze/thaw cycles?

What is the riding surface like in terms of feeling/hearing each seam?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

How do you ensure slab stability and water ingress over time, especially in a climate with freeze/thaw cycles?

You can't keep the water out, you just make sure it has somewhere to go. Good drainage will always beat sealed joints. If you do end up with wash out or degraded base, you can pick these up and re-grade.

What is the riding surface like in terms of feeling/hearing each seam?

Just as smooth as any other new concrete pavement, we meet or exceed all smoothness and performance standards.

8cuban1 karma

What about spalling the edges?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

We have some slabs that have been installed for almost a year now, no edge spalling yet. The mix, joint widths, and variance meet the same specs as anything else.

Brad_Wesley2 karma

Two questions:

  1. Could you get the cost down by lessening the quality?
  2. How far can you ship? For example, could you ship to panama?
  3. Have you done a study of how long a road needs to be before this is ideal? That is, on a 1km road it's probably not worth hiring you guys, but rather just a local road builder. At what length of road does this make more sense?
  4. What is the cost per mile or km?
  5. Do you use your own install team or can local contractors be used?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

But that's five questions! ;)

Could you get the cost down by lessening the quality?

I wouldn't dare, quality and longevity are two of our main selling points, and inherent in the requirements to build pieces that can be handled & installed. I'd rather reduce costs by increasing volume.

How far can you ship? For example, could you ship to panama?

We always produce at a local facility, there's plants around the nation that can build these.

Have you done a study of how long a road needs to be before this is ideal? That is, on a 1km road it's probably not worth hiring you guys, but rather just a local road builder. At what length of road does this make more sense?

We don't have any kind of comparative analysis like this yet. Right now decisions are made primarily on how much traffic the site has, and how quick the job needs to get done.

What is the cost per mile or km?

About 80% more than poured concrete right now, we should be about the same price in five years, and a bit cheaper in ten years.

Do you use your own install team or can local contractors be used?

We are a designer, technology provider, and service provider. We always use local contractors for labor. By using local production & local labor, we keep most of the money in the community, which helps politically, and it massively reduces our overhead & costs to expand into a new region.

Brad_Wesley2 karma

If you done anything overseas? Would you go to Panama or West Africa?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

We've seen interest from Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, UK, Burkina Faso, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, India, China, and Australia so far. Haven't yet had the opportunity to actually run a job for any of them though. We want to make sure all's well at home before we branch out too far.

clearing1 karma

What was the process that led you to the idea of making pre-fabricated roads?

Resilient_Roads1 karma

I just got tired of the constant resurfacing. The formative moment was probably when I spent an entire summer driving down the wrong side of the highway because they were reconstructing the other lanes - only for it to start snowing, and they had to re-do the grade again in the spring. It just seemed obvious to me that they could build the pieces for the road off-site then assemble them on-site like they do for bridges & buildings.

Of course, it took a long time to get from there to here.

fisheye_1 karma

Can you go into more detail about the wireless charging? I understand Tesla motors is working on a similar technology. I would think that the ability to charge vehicles over a wireless connection would provide a viable solution to the energy crisis.

Resilient_Roads2 karma

Tesla's not the only one, there's now a half-dozen wireless charging systems on the market. Most of them are for stationary charging, for example in parking spaces & bus pads. Those are fine, but I'm interested in in-motion charging, so that you can greatly extend the EV range without having to stop.

I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla was working on the technology, I know that Infiniti is going to have (stationary) wireless charging in at least one vehicle in their '14 model year.

Here's a technical explanation of how wireless charging (resonant inductive coupling) works.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resonant_inductive_coupling