California Asphalt Magazine – 2022 Pavement Preservation Issue

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GATEWAY TO GRANDEUR Preserving the highway to California’s scenic Joshua Tree National Park

Above: VSS International, Inc. used Slurry Seal Type III on State Route 62 westbound toward the town of Yucca Valley, in front of the access to Joshua Tree National Park.

By Mustafa B. Mahmood / Photos provided by VSS International, Inc.

THE HIDDEN OASIS: When you hear “California,” you will probably have flashbacks of beaches and surf boards. You may even think of the redwoods and green trails. But did you know that California is also home to one of the most iconic and biologically unique desert national parks in the world? The Joshua Tree National Park, located at the southwest region of the Mojave Desert, two hours east of Los Angeles, is an arid ecosystem that offers an awe for wilderness lovers. It is characterized by its stony terrain, hiking trails, rare plants, and big desert sky. The park was named after the Joshua tree, distinctly shaped trees with spiny ever-green leaves placed in a spiral 8

arrangement and relatively narrow trunks consisting of thousands of small fibers. The Joshua Tree National Park, established in 1994, extends over 794,000 acres and welcomes around 3 million visitors yearly. The only way to access this heavenly oasis by driving is by taking Highway 62. Route 62, also known as Twentynine Palms Highway, is a 151-mile road that connects California to Arizona, and it is the main road leading to the Joshua Tree National Park. Route 62 is fully paved but windblown sand in the desert makes it sometimes seem otherwise. Thousands of travelers use Route 62. Due to its location and its high utility, it is crucially important to

ensure this road is well maintained. In 2021, VSS International, Inc. was contracted by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 8 to provide pavement preservation solutions for 16 miles on Route 62 between the town of Yucca Valley and the City of Twentynine Palms, right in front of the access to Joshua Tree National Park. The solution selected for this project was Type III Slurry Seal which is ideal for high volume traffic roads with heavier traveling vehicles. LET’S BEGIN WITH ROAD PREPARATION: Pavement preservation solutions provide a wearing surface that protect and extend the lifetime of

California Asphalt Magazine • 2022 Pavement Preservation Issue