Paving the Future: Montana Highway 200

Co-authors: Andrew Eicher & Naarah Holloway

Road managers know that the longitudinal joint is the first part of the pavement to fail. As a road’s most permeable part, this joint is susceptible to the elements. Air and water work down through this gap causing the joint to deteriorate, crack and pothole. And when the longitudinal joint fails, the rest of the road soon follows—triggering the need for even more maintenance.

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How To Drive Safely This Holiday Season

(Featured Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash)

The holiday season is upon us, which means sitting for prolonged periods in the car. Whether it is traveling to visit loved ones or attend a festive event, safety behind the wheel should be a priority. During the holiday season, adverse weather conditions, heightened traffic, and various distractions can call for challenges on the road. Holiday events and celebrations should be a joyous time for friends and family, but these celebrations can quickly turn into a tragic event if we are not being mindful. AAA predicts there will be 55.4 million people traveling (including more than 49 million Americans driving) between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (November 23) and the Sunday after the holiday — making this the third-busiest Thanksgiving travel period in more than two decades. This season lets us make a commitment to road safety, the wellbeing of ourselves, our passengers, our hard-working road crews and fellow motorists.  

Here are simple ways you can stay safe on the roads this holiday season: 

  • Do not drink and drive. Do not drive when you are impaired, and do not allow your family members or friends to drive while impaired either. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a ride share service to protect yourself and others on the road. 
  • Inspect your vehicle. Take the time to ensure all of your lights are working and all fluid levels are normal. Check your tires, tire pressure, headlights, taillights, brake lights, and tag lights. 
  • Map out the route. Plan your route ahead of time and be aware of how projected weather conditions may affect your travels. 
  • Click it or ticket! Ensure you and your passengers are properly restrained in seat belts and car safety seats. 
  • Avoid fatigue. Ensure you receive a good night’s rest before driving, take breaks. If you begin to feel tired, share the driving or pull off the road to a rest area.  
  • Have an emergency plan. It is important to have a cell phone and charger with you in case of emergency situations. Keep emergency roadside assistance information on hand. 
  • Do not text and drive. Keeping your full attention on the road is important to ensure your and other motorists’ safety. If you need to use your cellphone, utilize a hands-free device. 
  • Keep a safe driving distance. A safe driving distance allows for ample time to react to traffic around you. If someone is tailgating you, allow them to pass and do not try to compete with impatient, aggressive drivers.  
  • Watch your speed. Do not go over the speed limit (especially in work zones) and give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your location. 
  • Remain calm. If you begin to feel stressed or irritable, take deep breaths and maintain your patience. If you drive with road rage, it compromises the safety of yourself and fellow drivers. 

Happy holidays, and safe travels from the AMI team! 

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Transportation Builder: Innovative Solutions Protect the Weakest Part of Pavement

An excerpt from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)’s July/August 2023 Transportation Builder issue. 

Have you ever heard the expression, “A chain is no stronger than its weakest link?” The adage can be applied to road construction. No matter how strong and durable your materials, if one component is breakable, the rest are compromised as well. 

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Registration now open for AEMA’s 2024-2025 LEAP program

Registration is now open for the Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association (AEMA)’s 2024-2025 LEAP program. LEAP is a 12-month immersive program aimed at developing members of the asphalt emulsion industry and is intended for AEMA Members looking to increase their knowledge of the asphalt emulsion industry. The program includes general education requirements through the University of Arkansas, various jobsite and facility tours, and a report at the AEMA Annual Meeting upon program graduation.  

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Why You Should Consider a Career in the Asphalt Industry

At AMI we are driven to be the best team in asphalt, and we use each day to grow and reinforce our reputation for exceeding expectations. Our greatest asset is our hardworking team who works together to make a real difference in the world. The asphalt industry may be a fit for you if you strive to build things that matter and enjoy learning and problem-solving as a team. Trade jobs offer great career potential and provide good pay and stability. The asphalt industry needs skilled workers interested in opportunities to grow. 

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Stay Safe this School Year with these Bus Safety Tips

Students across the country are heading back to school now, which often brings changes in traffic patterns and additional considerations on the road. Millions of students nationwide begin and end their day with a trip on a school bus. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), less than 1 percent of all traffic fatalities involve children on school transportation vehicles. Buses are designed with special safety features like large mirrors and flashing lights to keep students safe, but students can still be at risk when approaching or leaving a school bus. It is incredibly important for drivers, parents, and students to understand bus safety to keep everyone safe.  

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Asphalt Magazine: A Complete Approach to Pavement Sustainability

Pavement sustainability continues to be one of the most crucial areas of research in the asphalt industry. While it is common to understand sustainability in a purely environmental context, truly sustainable products and innovations also have positive economic and social implications. 

Below, industry sustainability thought leader and Sustainability Engineer at the Asphalt Institute, Dr. Chait Bhat, details the appropriate scope for comparing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) per the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards language in Asphalt Magazine. His article follows a previous article from Dr. Mark Buncher covering the appropriateness of comparing material EPDs. 

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MnDOT finds PMBs Extend Road Service Life by Six Years

Many highway agencies recognize the benefits of using modified asphalts to reduce pavement distress and increase service life. A recent study from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) found that asphalt pavements with polymer-modified binders (PMBs) perform better than pavements with unmodified asphalt binders. They also found that modified binders are more cost-effective, even for local low-volume roads. While pavements with PMBs may cost more initially, performance is improved in the long run. 

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Happy National Air Traffic Control Day

National Air Traffic Control Day, July 6, is a day to recognize and appreciate the men and women who work hard to keep us safe in the skies! Air traffic controllers are responsible for ensuring safe flights by navigating, monitoring, and guiding aircrafts around airports throughout the United States. The next time you are on a flight, thank your flight attendant and pilot for all they do to keep us safe while travelling.

On this day, we highlight the work it takes to keep all aspects of air travel safe, including runway construction and maintenance. One such project recently took place at Coles County Memorial Airport (MTO). Just like many roads, airport runaways may experience longitudinal joint failure. When runways are poorly paved with insufficient materials, cracks can form over time. This is why it is important to apply a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane (VRAM), such as J-Band®, to ensure a long-lasting, safe runway.

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