How Chip Seal is Utilized As a Major Pavement Preservation Tool in Michigan

Washtenaw County is located in southeast Michigan. The County seat is Ann Arbor, home of
The University of Michigan Wolverines. The Washtenaw County Road Commission (“WCRC”) is responsible for maintaining 1,653 total miles of primary and local roads along with 598 lane miles of State highways under a contract arrangement with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

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What The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Can Mean for Driver Safety?

Roadway safety is a growing concern in the United States. In 2019 alone, there were 36,096 traffic fatalities, an increase of 5.3% from the year before, according to a recent study conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).1 Every year, thousands of Americans are injured or killed in preventable accidents, many of them due to distracted driving. Fortunately, the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), includes several provisions that can make America’s roads safer.

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Initiatives of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW)

Toward Zero Deaths

Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) is a national initiative to eliminate highway fatalities founded in 2009. The ATSSA Foundation’s mission is to support injured or fallen roadway workers and their families, impacted by roadway work zone crashes. This national strategy on highway safety to advocate for eliminating serious injuries and death on our nation’s roadways was conceptualized by safety practitioners, researchers, advocates, and others from a variety of disciplines. This initiative calls for all stakeholders to champion the idea that one death on our nation’s roadways is too many, and we must all work together to bring the annual number of roadway deaths to zero. With this input of over 70 workshop participants and further discussions with the Steering Committee following the workshop, the name of this effort became “Toward Zero Deaths: A National Strategy on Highway Safety.”

Frequent donator, Minnesota-based company 3M raised more than $15k this year partnering with The ATSS Foundation by operating the zero deaths pledge wall from the start of the year through ATSSA’s 52nd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo. The company offered to match donations up to $5,000 and most of the raised funds came in during the final days of the Expo. “As the new ATSS Foundation Chair, I can’t express enough how grateful I am for support from companies like 3M that share the vision with us to help families that have experienced such horrific work zone tragedies,” said Kevin Shelton. For more information on how to promote traffic safety culture in your community, visit the TZD webpage for a list of initiatives you can implement today.

National Work Zone Memorial

Honoring those who died in work zones with a traveling & virtual memorial, The ATSSA Foundation offers the National Work Zone Memorial, honoring lives lost in work zones to help make fatalities “real” to policy makers and drivers. Originally unveiled in April 2002, “The National Work Zone Memorial – Respect and Remembrance: Reflections of Life on the Road” program is a living tribute to the memory of lives lost in work zones2. The new design of the traveling National Work Zone Memorial was unveiled in February 2017.

The traditional Memorial travels to communities across the cross each year to raise awareness of the need to respect and stay safe in America’s roadway work zones. A virtual National Work Zone Memorial is also available for meetings and events and is open to anyone interested in increasing roadway safety awareness and is now available at no cost. The Foundation encourages ATSSA members, ATSSA chapters, state DOTs and industry leaders to host the Memorial at your next event. To apply to host the Memorial at your next event, or to submit a name for the memorial, visit ATSSA webpage for more information.

Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program

A work zone tragedy shouldn’t mean the end of the dreams and aspirations for the worker’s spouse, children, and family. This is exactly why The ATSS Foundation created The Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program. This program provides financial assistance for post-high school education to the children or spouse of a roadway worker killed or permanently disabled in a work zone incident. The scholarships, offered by The American Traffic Safety Services (ATSS) Foundation3, can help put the worker’s dependents on the road to a brilliant future. The scholarships are competitive and have a value up to $10,000. Applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to volunteerism may be eligible to receive an additional $1,000 in honor of Chuck Bailey, an esteemed member of the roadway safety industry from Ohio who died in 2002 as a result of a work zone incident.

The Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has awarded $358,000 since its inception. Thirteen students are currently attending college thanks to a Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship. Two of those also received a Chuck Bailey Memorial Scholarship for this school year. Hear from Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship recipients about how The ATSS Foundation scholarships helped them achieve their dreams.

“It is a privilege to help the dependents of fallen or permanently injured roadway workers pursue their goals,” said Foundation Director Lori Diaz. “But we couldn’t offer these scholarships without the generosity of individual donors, ATSSA members and sponsors of the events we hold throughout the year.” The ATSS Foundation is the charitable arm of ATSSA and was formed in 1988 with the core purpose to promote roadway safety through charitable giving and public awareness programs. Donations can be made at Foundation.ATSSA.com/Donate.

Public Awareness

In March of 2019, the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA)4 passed a resolution recognizing April 8 – 12 2019 as National Work Zone Awareness Week. The resolution was passed at the NLGA 2019 Federal-State Relations Meeting where the lieutenant governors discussed state, federal, and international affairs. ATSSA’s Government Relations staff members were in attendance and requested the resolution be considered by NLGA. The NLGA is a professional association for the elected officials first in line of succession to governors in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. Their goal? The NLGA strives for efficiency in state government by providing professional support, to foster interstate cooperation, and to generally improve the efficiency of state and territorial administration through education on issues and leadership training. “ATSSA is pleased that the Lt. Governors passed a resolution acknowledging the importance of work zone safety awareness as we begin the spring construction season. Public awareness is key in helping to remind motorists to be mindful when navigating work zones,” said ATSSA’s Director of State Government Relations Ashley Wieland.

1 https://www.towardzerodeaths.org/

2 https://foundation.atssa.com/Programs/National-Work-Zone-Memorial

3 https://foundation.atssa.com/Programs/Roadway-Worker-Memorial-Scholarship-Program

4 https://nlga.us/

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National Work Zone Awareness Week is Here

Spring is finally here, and that means construction season is underway! As we all know, construction zones can be extremely dangerous places for both drivers and workers. That’s exactly why the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) hosts its annual National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), this year from April 11-15. The weeklong campaign is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of work zones and encourage drivers to use extra caution when driving through any.

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What Common Mistakes can be Avoided to Create Strong & Durable Asphalt Pavements?

Asphalt paving is a complex process that requires in-depth planning, precision, and specialized expertise. When it comes to paving with asphalt, everyone always looks forward to the end result – i.e., long-lasting and functional pavement. Beyond the numerous techniques and skillset required to completing asphalt paving projects, if you don’t have a solid foundation for your final product, your work will deteriorate quickly.

However, when important steps are neglected, roads can be in a vulnerable condition, susceptible to quicker deterioration such as premature cracking and the all too familiar and frustrating potholes. A recent article published by The Asphalt Magazine introduces five key points which, when followed, can lead to stronger, durable, longer lasting asphalt pavements.

Achieving the highest level of asphalt pavement performance is often the top goal for both clients and contractors alike. In his article, “The five keys to paving success,” Dave Johnson, P.E., emphasizes the importance of considering these factors to never overlook when building high-quality pavements and avoiding poorer-than-optimal performance.

As an engineer and asphalt paving contractor, Johnson has seen his share of bad asphalt surface streets over the years – those with inadequate design and construction factors that lead to poor performance. In his years of experience specializing in asphalt pavements, he has witnessed countless asphalt paving projects – some that have lasted for decades and others that have failed within the first few years. While there is no one formula to ensure the development of a high-quality, long-lasting asphalt pavement, the five keys to doing so, according to Johnson, are these:

Asphalt mix design, mix temperature, placement thickness, aggregate angularity and compaction are crucial to consider when producing a quality pavement. Each of these five keys is important in its own right, but they all work together to create a strong foundation. Asphalt pavement is renowned for its durability, longevity, and cost-effectiveness, but proper construction is critical to achieving these characteristics.

After all, asphalt is the most heavily used construction material in America. “All too often, contractors compromise some or all of these factors in the name of saving time and money,” Johnson explains. “They later discover that short-term savings were far outweighed by the longer-term costs associated with poor performance.” While all five aspects of a top-notch pavement are equally important and work together to create a high-quality product, paving is rarely an exact science.

Conditions such as climate, temperature, traffic, etc. can vary greatly from one work site to the next. These procedures cannot be ignored if you want to ensure longevity and stability in your asphalt pavement, preventing you from having to make costly repairs sooner than later. 

The asphalt pavement industry also presents challenges because there are often frequent changes to specifications. By taking the time to ensure each of these five keys is up to par in your project, you can avoid costly mistakes and deliver a high-quality, long-lasting asphalt pavement. While paving is not an exact science, there’s still much that can go wrong if you don’t take the time necessary with each key component from start through completion.

It is an overall complex and sensitive process – one that should not be taken lightly. Neglecting even one of them results in a subpar final product. Be sure to keep these five keys in mind on your next asphalt paving project! Your clients, community, and bank account will thank you in the long run.

For more detailed information on each key and how to achieve success, read more about Johnson’s insights on building better asphalt surfaces here. >>>

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Calumet County, Wisconsin Helping to Create Longer Lasting, Safer Roads

Many states are looking for methods to improve longitudinal joint performance of their pavements, since these joints often fail before the rest of the surface. With the inherently lower density at the longitudinal joints we often see pavements fail by cracking, raveling, and potholing. Lower density is synonymous with higher air voids which leads to premature failure of pavements due to the intrusion of air and water. Studies have shown that longitudinal joints in pavements are often the weakest areas of a road. (1)

A picture of a pavement’s longitudinal joint with significant damage.

Several state DOTs (Department of Transportation) are now using a materials approach to seal the longitudinal joint region by filling these air voids with asphalt content from the bottom up.

The materials approach is referred to as VRAM(2), a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane.  VRAM is a highly polymer-modified asphalt cement that is placed at the location of a longitudinal joint before paving. As mix is paved over it, the VRAM melts and migrates up into voids in the low-density mix, making the mix impermeable to moisture while sealing the longitudinal joint itself.

Think of this materials approach and application as putting VRAM down first (asphalt content), to fill air voids in the HMA mat, AFTER the HMA has been placed. This is the innovative nature and chemistry of VRAM and why it has been helping roads last longer in more than 20 states in the United States. 

This particular project covers 10,560 feet in Calumet County, Wisconsin from US 151 to Honeymoon Hills Road.

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) test pavements were evaluated after 12 years and found to have longitudinal joints that exhibited significantly better performance than the control joint sections and were in similar or better condition than the rest of the pavement. Laboratory testing of cores showed decreased permeability and increased crack resistance of mix near joints with VRAM as compared with similar mix without VRAM. The life extension of the joint area is approximately 3–5 years, and the benefit is calculated to be three to five times the initial cost.

You will note the test section (above the white line) does not have VRAM, while the section below did use VRAM. This is 15 years AFTER the VRAM was placed under the HMA at time of construction.

This project’s VRAM application began at 8:05pm with ProTack operating the 05-distributor shooting from the driver’s side. They started at address N3362 in the eastbound lane. Ambient temperature was 61F and existing pavement was 80F. ProTack applied a straight and consistent line throughout the project. VRAM width was measured with an average of 18 inches. (3)

An 18 inch application of VRAM.

The paving crew started at 11:40.  Paving equipment consisted of a Volvo P7170B paver, Sakai SW850-II – 12-ton breakdown roller and a Volvo DD25B-5-ton finish roller. Width was 12 feet.  Mix temp was 275F under the screed.

HMA is placed over the VRAM. The heat and pressure of the HMA cause the VRAM material to migrate upwards 50-75% into the HMA, filling voids with asphalt content.

J-Band® is a VRAM product from Asphalt Materials, Inc. and was created in the labs of the Heritage Research Group.

J-Band has been helping roads last longer since 2002. VRAM has been used in 20 states and the District of Columbia. 

Notes:

  1. Materials Approach to Improving Asphalt Pavement Longitudinal Joint Performance. National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2021 Article: https://doi.org/10.1177/03611981211044451 
  2. Editor’s Notes: VRAM, Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane is referred to in Illinois as LJS, Longitudinal Joint Sealant.
  3. Depending on the situation VRAM can be sprayed at different width’s. This article notes 18” which is a typical application width for centerline applications.

Keywords: Infrastructure, Void Reducing Asphalt Material, Longitudinal Joints, J-Band, binder specifications, pavements, design and rehabilitation of asphalt pavements, asphalt, construction, asphalt pavement construction and rehabilitation, materials, binders, Asphalt Materials, The Heritage Group, Milestone, HC&M, Heritage Research Labs.

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What is a Sustainable Rehabilitation Technique for Asphalt Materials?

Bartholomew County, Indiana

Full Depth Reclamation (FDR) is a cost effective and sustainable rehabilitation technique that combines the entire bituminous pavement thickness and a predetermined portion of the underlying aggregate material into a flexible, homogenous stabilized base layer utilizing an asphalt emulsion to provide mixture cohesion and water resistance. FDR is a solution for rehabilitating roads that have poor structure. The FDR is typically followed with an overlay of hot mix asphalt.

This full depth reclamation project took many parties from start to finish. Milestone Contractors, Inc. submitted the bid, Asphalt Materials, Inc. supplied the engineered emulsion and Heritage Research Group provided the sampling, mix design and quality control. 

This particular project was on Hartman Drive in Bartholomew County, Indiana. It consisted of an eight-inch (8″) full depth reclamation on one thousand, one hundred feet (1,100′) of existing recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) road and one hundred – 70 feet (70′) of existing asphalt road. A 3″ hot mix overlay laid in 2 lifts of 1 ½” each was then placed on the new recycled roadway base. 

The County collected and placed the RAP at a depth of 8-9” from another project in the area to build the new roadway base. Milestone then pre-pulverized and graded the entire roadway at a depth of 8”. A second pass was made with the reclaimer and the engineered emulsion was injected and the emulsified material was graded and compacted. After the final cure the recycled base was overlaid with two 1 ½” lifts of HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt), striped and opened to traffic. 

Asphalt Materials Inc., is a proud member of The Heritage Group and brings nearly 65 years of experience to the asphalt industry and road construction projects. Our teams of professionals are dedicated to creating longer-lasting, safer roads with quality, reliable asphalt materials.

Our family of companies want to ensure we are leaving the world in a better place for future generations. As The Heritage Group continues to expand capabilities and investments in the sustainability space, the AMI team is also focused on sustainability in a number of different areas. We will be reporting on these in future articles.

#FDR #Infrastructure #STEM STEMEducation #Sustainability #LongerLastingRoads #HotMixAsphalt

[Note: Bids for this project opened on March 29, 2021]

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DuPage County Illinois Finds Success Protecting Pavements

Studies have shown that longitudinal joints in pavements are often the weakest areas of a road. Typically the joints are low in density, high in voids and thus are highly permeable. These areas become conduits to air and water infiltration which leads to damage and premature pavement failure. (1)

During the 2016 construction season a new method of longitudinal joint construction was specified in Illinois. This new method is a materials approach and is referred to as VRAM(2), a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane. Applying VRAM at the time of construction helps fill the pavement voids, thus reducing the permeability in this most critical area.

As part of their evaluation, DuPage County ensured that test cores were taken on different joint constructions, such as VRAM and joint heater. DCT, I-FIT, density, and asphalt binder grading tests were performed to compare the different joint construction methods. The report summarized that the addition of the VRAM contributes to a more durable joint by partially filling the joint and adjacent mat air voids. The joint will be much less permeable and less likely to allow water infiltration.

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Asphalt Materials Shines the Spotlight on Sustainability

As The Heritage Group continues to expand capabilities and investments in the sustainability space, the Asphalt Material’s team is also focused on sustainability in a number of different areas, this article is focuses on CCPR or Cold Central Plant Recycling.

CCPR is the process in which the asphalt recycling takes place at a central location using a stationary cold mix plant and an existing stockpile of RAP or reclaimed asphalt pavement.

Why is CCPR a Sustainability Initiative?

Aggregate and oil resources are not infinite and current conventional remove and replace approaches to constructions projects is unsustainable and not always budget friendly. CCPR is a modern, yet time tested approach. It has helped agencies complete more projects within the same budget, or in many cases with reduced dollars versus budget without sacrificing the structural integrity of asphalt pavements.

By reducing energy usage during the processing, CCPR is an ideal choice for road construction projects. There is a smaller carbon footprint and reduction in greenhouse gases because of the significant reduction in trucks exporting and importing materials to and from the site.

RAP is a Valuable Asset!

Agencies paid for the initial construction materials for an existing asphalt pavement. With CCPR, agencies are able to reuse those materials and stretch their budget dollars. When roads last longer, infrastructure funds go further.

CCPR Can be Less Expensive

CCPR is less expensive than conventional maintenance, reconstruction or new construction methods. Rehabilitating a road with an engineered emulsion additive is less expensive than producing virgin hot mix made from completely new materials. Typical overall project costs savings can be 25% or more.

Nate Jenkins (AMI Sales Representative) and Tim Zahrn (Specialty Products Area Manager) collaborate on a number of recycling projects around the state of Indiana. They also draw on the expertise of The Heritage Research Group, specifically team members like Jason Wielinski, Megan Yount and Zach Robinson. A few of their insights are seen below.

CCPR is a green approach that is not only environmentally friendly, but is often economically advantageous to agencies. – Tim Zahrn, Specialty Products Area Manager for Asphalt Materials, Inc.

CCPR gives an agency the ability to remove existing asphalt pavement and fix the underlying pavement issues, reusing the RAP in the new pavement structure. – Megan Yount, Heritage Research Group.

CCPR is placed at ambient temperatures and the mixing plant is typically located in close proximity to the project.  This decreases excessive hauling and utilizes a lower amount of virgin material in comparison to some other alternatives. – Jason Wielinski , Heritage Research Group.

If an agency needs to remove existing pavement structure, RAP, it makes sense to re-use the material that the agency already owns. – Nate Jenkins, Asphalt Materials Inc. Sales Representative.

RAP has value and can be used by an agency for a number of different things, but can be very valuable when used in a CCPR or other pavement recycling processes. – Zach Robinson , Heritage Research Group.

Show below are a number of different pictures taken at different stages of a CCPR project. In addition, you may be interested in watching a short video of CCPR here: Video Link.

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Success Story: CMS in Iowa

Cationic Emulsions are made up of three major classifications of emulsion grades: rapid-setting, medium-setting, and slow-setting. The terms “rapid,” “medium,” and “slow” relate to the amount of time it takes for the emulsion to cure and the amount of mixing that can be performed before the emulsion breaks. Emulsions that allow for the longest mixing times generally take the longest to cure, while emulsions that allow for very little mixing time are those that set and cure most rapidly.

Chemical surface-active agents, serving as emulsifiers, are classified by the electrochemical charge that is attained when they dissociate in a water solution. In the case of cationic emulsions, the chemical charge is positive. The chemical type and quantity of surface-active agents used in the manufacturing process governs the properties of the emulsion and in what applications the resulting asphalt emulsion can be used.

As many people know, Asphalt Materials, Inc. is made up of a large family of companies. One of these companies, Bituminous Material and Supply, with plant locations in Tama and Des Moines, Iowa, was approached by Denco Construction regarding an interest in using scrub seal in Iowa. This is an emulsion seal that is not often seen in Iowa. A scrub seal is an application that is very similar to a chip seal treatment. The only difference is that the asphalt distributor pulls a broom sled that houses a series of brooms placed at different angles. These brooms guide or “scrub” the emulsion into cracks to help ensure the road’s surface is sealed.

Testing

The scrub seal is a process by which asphalt emulsion is applied to a pavement surface by an asphalt distributor. The emulsion is scrubbed into the cracks and voids with a broom before a layer of aggregate is applied over the asphalt. The scrub seal is then rolled with a pneumatic tire roller and is usually ready for controlled traffic in 1 hour or less. The scrub seal process is intended to rejuvenate dry, oxidized, and cracked asphalt pavements in lieu of a micro-surfacing, chip seal or asphalt overlay. This process was tested on roads that interested counties offered as a demo. Below, you’ll find images that were taken during the testing process.

Results

The evaluation of the demo roads showed success, and Bituminous is now focused on sand applications. Denco Construction purchased a sand spreader during the winter season to fulfill the county’s request.

According to Chris Aldama, Plant Manager at Bituminous, “It’s still a pretty fresh process. Denco was able to take approximately 10,000 gallons at the end of June, but needs to make adjustments on sand suppliers. Once sand quality is finalized, I’m confident in the long term success in this area and beyond.”

To learn more about the process, feel free to watch this video:

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