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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Work Zone Safety and Innovative Pavement Technologies at Top of NAPA’s 2022 Focus Areas

Federal law requires federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, to revise and update their strategic plan at the beginning of each new presidential term.  In so doing, the DOT invited stakeholders to comment on the Draft DOT Strategic Framework, which included draft strategic goals and strategic objectives to accomplish each strategic goal.

The draft DOT Strategic Framework reflects the agency’s priorities for achieving DOT’s mission through six strategic goals: safety, economic strength and global competitiveness, equity, climate and sustainability, transformation, and organizational excellence. The NAPA organization was the only association providing comments on behalf of the asphalt pavement industry.

NAPA President and CEO Audrey Copeland asked DOT to prioritize worker safety in work zones and the deployment of innovative pavement technologies, both of which should be added to the DOT Strategic Framework. Copeland also recommended the inclusion of a goal: the development of revenue options for the Highway Trust Fund.

Asphalt Materials is Focused on Building, Longer-Lasting, Safer Roads

The Department of Transportation (DOT) published their draft Strategic Framework FY2022-2026, for public comment in November 2021. Shown below are a few of the important elements of the DOT’s document where the focus of Asphalt Materials and this framework as particularly aligned.

DOT’s Goals and Terms Defined 

Make our transportation system safer for all people. Work toward a future where transportation-related serious injuries and fatalities are eliminated.  

  • Safe Workers: Support the health and safety of transportation workers and first responders 
  • Safe Design: Design and build transportation infrastructure, vehicles, and systems to improve safety outcomes 
  • Infrastructure Resilience and climate-informed decision-making
  • Design for the future. Invest in purpose-driven research and innovation to meet the challenge of the present and modernize a transportation system of the future that serves everyone today and in the decades to come. 
  • Foster breakthrough discoveries and new knowledge through high-risk, high-reward research driven by policy objectives 
  • Experimentation:  Identify new ideas, new innovation, and new possibilities. Evaluate the opportunities and risks so the Department can support public benefits 
  • Collaboration and Competitiveness:  Work with diverse stakeholders to share noteworthy practices and accelerate the adoption of innovation and technologies 
  • Flexibility and Adaptability:  Design flexibility into transportation system investments to accommodate and respond to changing needs and capabilities to provide long-term benefits 
  • The DOT has expressed an interest in establishing policies, processes, and innovative culture to effectively and responsibly steward the public’s resources
  • The DOT has expressed an interest in educating the public on the value of their transportation investments 
  • Sustainability Initiatives:  Promote a sustainable, clean, and resilient future 
  • Focus on program outcomes and enhanced analytics 
Asphalt delivers sustainability by being the most recycled material in the world.

Asphalt Materials: Focused on Longer-lasting, Safer Roads

One of the most important objectives of Asphalt Materials is to create longer-lasting roads. This objective of AMI is aligned with the DOT and will lead to a more resilient and reliable transportation system, infrastructure and supply chain.  

At the core of the Heritage Group is a tradition of innovation and a strong commitment to science. You see it daily in the problem-solving that occurs among our companies and their customers. And, you see it in the world-class research that’s driven growth across The Heritage Group and earned more than 100 patents.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at Heritage Research Group, our central research and development unit which operates at the cutting-edge of technology from its state-of-the-art research facility at The Center in Indianapolis.

Our focus on innovation is further demonstrated by the creation of HG Ventures, our corporate venture arm which is primarily focused on investments in early- and growth-stage opportunities in the infrastructure space.

The Heritage Group has been developing environmentally- sustainable solutions for more than 50 years – we started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created.

Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution all across North America.

We help clients leverage the full potential of waste, identifying opportunities and efficiencies to re-claim value and turn waste into productive, sustainable assets by leveraging our research and development partners.

Equipped with experience and driven by creativity and innovation, we are a team of environmentalists and engineers passionate about doing things the right way or not at all.

A particularly excellent example of a Heritage Group, Heritage Research Lab and Asphalt Materials discovery is VRAM, a void reducing asphalt membrane which has been shown to create longer-lasting safer roads. Many of the objectives, goals and strategies outlined by the DOT can be achieved by using more VRAM across a variety of projects in the United States in 2022 and beyond.

  • VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads lead to a more resilient and reliable infrastructure and supply chain
  • VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads that are more environmentally friendly than many other mechanical methods
  • VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads that are more sustainable
  • VRAM is a breakthrough discovery that helps roads last up to 5 years longer and delivers a return on investment of 3 to 5 times its cost
  • VRAM is a breakthrough innovation that has an impressive track record that has been performing and delivering results since 2002
  • VRAM is being used in 21 states and The District of Columbia. These states can collaborate with other states to accelerate the adoption of the VRAM innovative technology
  • VRAM provides long-term benefits as shown in an Indiana DOT life cycle analysis where an investment of $12.5M in J-Band can result in a $39M in savings (approximately 3:1 ROI).

Asphalt Materials, Inc. an Important Company Within The Heritage Group

At The Heritage Group, we have been developing environmentally sustainable solutions for more than 50 years. We started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created. Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution spread across North America.

Sustainability is important all across The Heritage Group. Our businesses are focused on leaving the world a better place for future generations.

At Asphalt Materials (AMI), we work closely with The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). NAPA works to support, advocate, and advance the asphalt pavement industry. One of NAPA’s focus areas for 2022 is climate stewardship and how asphalt is environmentally friendly as it is America’s most recycled material. Our industry continuously explores methods and practices to contribute to a sustainable infrastructure and a healthy environment for generations to come.

It is always worth noting that asphalt delivers sustainability by being the most recycled material in the world !

Be on the lookout for future articles on these subjects throughout 2022.

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NAPA Helps Explain New Sustainability Terminology Expected to Become Commonplace in 2022

At The Heritage Group, we have been developing environmentally sustainable solutions for more than 50 years. We started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created. Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution spread across North America.

Sustainability is important all across The Heritage Group. Our businesses are focused on leaving the world a better place for future generations.

At Asphalt Materials (AMI), we work closely with The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). NAPA works to support, advocate, and advance the asphalt pavement industry. One of NAPA’s focus areas for 2022 is climate stewardship and how asphalt is environmentally friendly as it is America’s most recycled material. Our industry continuously explores methods and practices to contribute to a sustainable infrastructure and a healthy environment for generations to come.

As part of NAPA’s Climate Stewardship Task Force, they will be helping explain terminology that is expected to become commonplace in 2022. Look for more updates in the coming weeks. Here are a few listed below.

Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is an estimate of how much carbon dioxide is produced to support your lifestyle. Essentially, it measures your impact on the climate based on how much carbon dioxide you produce. Factors that contribute to your carbon footprint include your travel methods and general home energy usage. Carbon footprints can also be applied, on a larger scale, to companies, businesses, even countries. (Source: NAPA Action News. Defining The Road Forward. https://www.naylornetwork.com/nap-nwl/articles/index-v7.asp?aid=707737&issueID=88351)

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning carbon and organic compounds and by respiration, what people exhale when they breathe. It is naturally present in air (about 0.03%) and is absorbed by plants in photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is one carbon atom that is joined with two oxygen atoms.

Carbon Dioxide is Naturally Occurring

Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas. When you inhale (breathe in), air enters your lungs and oxygen from the air moves from your lungs to your blood. At the same time, carbon dioxide, a waste gas, moves from your blood to the lungs and is exhaled (breathe out).

Heritage Construction & Materials

Our Heritage Construction & Materials (HC+M) family of companies have built roads, bridges, and other commercial projects across the Midwest and as far away as China. Our asphalt and aggregate supply companies produce and distribute the highest quality road construction materials and specialty minerals throughout the country.

HC+M companies are industry-leading innovators, due in large part to the problem-solving nature of our employees, our close collaboration with the Heritage Research Group , and our mutual commitment to listen to the needs of our customers.

As part of The Heritage Group, Asphalt Materials was founded in 1956 and we continue to supply high quality products and services around the United States, allowing us to excel in pavement preservation techniques and construction services.

We work closely with the Heritage Research Group team to ensure the highest quality asphalt materials and processes are brought to market. We are committed to building long term relationships and mutual trust. We are excited to tackle our industries biggest challenges, looking for new and inventive ways to create solutions that will mean better, safer and longer lasting roads.

To learn more about HC+M, visit this website: https://thgrp.com/transportation-infrastructure-materials/

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NAPA Helps Answer: What is the Environmental Impact of Asphalt?

The asphalt industry has a long history of working with federal regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA. Since the early 1990s, the EPA has done extensive testing on asphalt plant emissions and in 2002 removed this industrial sector from the “major source” category, identifying that emissions from asphalt plants are not an area of concern. (1) NAPA is the National Asphalt Pavement Association.

Understanding Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) as a Clean Fill Material

In 2019, more than 97 million tons of RAP and 921,000 tons of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the U.S. That year about 139 million tons of RAP and RAS were stockpiled for future use across the country. Reusing RAP in future pavements saved nearly 60 million cubic yards of landfill space during 2019.  (2)

As America’s biggest recycler, millions of tons of asphalt pavement material is reclaimed each year during road widening and resurfacing projects, and nearly all of that material is reused. Incorporating reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) into new pavements reduces demands for virgin asphalt binder, helping to keep costs down as well as improving the environmental footprint of projects.

Not all RAP is recycled into new asphalt pavements, however. Occasionally, the question arises as to whether or not RAP can be used as “clean fill.” Although obviously not the highest and best use of this vital resource, regulations regarding when and where RAP can be placed as fill material vary from state to state and can be complex. In most instances, RAP falls under state solid-waste requirements and purview.

Material that is Recycled is Not Considered Solid Waste

Because state environmental agencies often have more restrictive solid-waste disposal regulations than the federal Environmental Protection Agency, it is important to understand how RAP is defined. U.S. EPA classifies RAP as construction and demolition (C&D) debris that is part of the federal solid-waste chain. Federal regulations also identify that if materials are “recycled,” then they are not considered solid waste. However, there is a “speculative accumulation” federal definition that requires a 75 percent annual “turnover” to maintain the recycled material classification vs. solid waste.

There are NO Harmful Compounds Leached from RAP

RAP is not, and never has been, considered a “hazardous” solid waste. Years of leaching studies show that there are no harmful components leached from RAP under the most stringent waste definition extraction conditions. (See NAPA Special Report 190: “Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) Stockpile Emissions and Leachate.”) In general, it is acceptable for RAP to be used as a road material — as part of the base, recycled back into pavement, etc. — both from a federal and state perspective. Although U.S. EPA does not appear to have a strict definition of “clean fill”, specific requirements do apply to solid-waste materials applied to land.

The bottom line is that each state’s environmental agency will likely dictate whether or not RAP can be used as a clean fill material. Under normal use and circumstances, RAP should never be considered as hazardous waste. (3)

See Also

Sources:

  1. https://www.asphaltpavement.org/expertise/health-safety/environmental
  2. Williams, B.A., Willis, Richard & Shacat, Joseph (2019). Asphalt Pavement Industry Survey on Recycled Materials and Warm-Mix Asphalt Usage: 2018 (IS 138) National Asphalt Pavement Association, Greenbelt, Maryland.
  3. https://www.asphaltpavement.org/uploads/documents/SR204-RAP_as_Clean_Fill.pdf

Environmental & Sustainability Terms

  • GHG
    • Greenhouse Gases
    • Many gasses have global warming properties (GHG). The majority of GHG emissions from industrial, commercial, and institutional activities are CO2, CH4, and N2O.
  • CO2
    • Carbon Dioxide
    • Carbon dioxide is a natural greenhouse gas, commonly produced by the air we exhale. At higher levels, CO2 affects productivity, sleep and infectious disease.
    • Some believe carbon dioxide and methane are the biggest drivers of global warming related to human activities
    • CO2 is the reference gas for Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared to other GHG gases. GWP = 1
  • CH4
    • Methane
    • Methane is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas that is the simplest hydrocarbon and is the major constituent of natural gas
    • Some believe carbon dioxide and methane are the biggest drivers of global warming related to human activities
    • CH4 GWP = 25 (25 times greater warming potential than CO2)
  • N2O
    • Nitrous Oxide
    • Nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is a chemical compound with the chemical formula N2O.
    • It is a colorless non-flammable gas at room temperature, with a pleasant, slightly sweet odor and taste.
    • It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects.
    • Some believe it may be the most important greenhouse gas after methane and carbon dioxide and the biggest human-related threat to the ozone layer
    • N2O GWP = 298 (298 times greater warming potential than CO2)
  • CO2e
    • Carbon dioxide equivalent
    • This is the number of metric tons of CO2 emissions with the same global warming potential as one metric ton of another greenhouse gas, and is calculated using Equation A-1 in 40 CFR Part 98
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Our People: Veterans 2021

As we celebrate Veteran’s Day, we want to recognize the many AMI employees and their family members that have bravely and selflessly served our country. We express our sincerest gratitude and appreciation for the courage, commitment, and sacrifices you and your families have made. Although we formally honor you on this special day, please know that we appreciate and thank you for your service every day of the year. 

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