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.
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!
Did you know that asphalt pavement is one of America’s most recycled materials? Pavement conditions can be significantly improved when recycling processes like Cold in Place Recycling (CIR), Cold Central Plant Recycling (CCPR), and Full Depth Reclamation (FDR) are applied at the right time. Recycling can successfully mitigate cracking in existing asphalt pavement structures with the application of up-front pavement investigation and training on the specific recycling technique.
Our very own Megan Yount from Heritage Research Group (HRG) was able to speak about Pavement Recycling and its benefits in a recent conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, as a co-presentation with a local agency. This presentation highlighted a successful recycling workshop which partnered with local associations and led to a strong recycling program in Lake County, Indiana.
This year, Asphalt Materials Inc. and Heritage Research group attended the National Pavement Preservation Conference (NPPC) hosted by the National Center for Pavement Preservation (NCPP). Sessions were held to further knowledge, development, and research regarding the preservation of pavement. The poor condition of our roads results in $130 billion dollars added to vehicle repairs and operating costs per year (Alabama DOT). To avoid such situations, we must establish an effective preservation program and protect infrastructure investment.
On day one, we heard from several presenters that traveled near and far to share their advice, best practices and research. Below we highlight some of the speakers and key topics they discussed.
Mike Smith: Commissioner of Indiana (INDOT)
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has owned and maintained more than 5,700 bridges and has nearly 30,000 roadway lane miles. INDOT has created a long term, fully funded plan to improve Indiana’s roadways and bridges that consists of fixing what they currently have, finishing what they have started, planning for the future, and impacting the surrounding cities, towns and counties.
Mike shared that at the highest level it is important to invest in our infrastructure, keep roads in good condition longer, use taxpayer dollars wisely and be environmentally sensitive. Looking ahead, INDOT plans to focus on the quality of the pavement life including preservation techniques, economic development, resiliency, and sustainability.
George Connor: Deputy Director, Operations (Alabama DOT)
George Connor discussed the preservation challenge and how important it is that we create longer lasting pavements. It is a challenging undertaking because the road system has 4.2 million centerline miles. The nation’s infrastructure is valued at $8.3 trillion, and in 2019 federal state governments spent $3.6 billion on highways.
Pavement preservation is important because of the people and communities it impacts. Roadway networks connect about 7.9 million business establishments with customers, suppliers and workers. In 2018, roadway networks served about 327 million residents and 80 million international visitors. Transportation infrastructure has a major economic impact, so we must work together to share pavement preservation techniques that are working well.
On day two of the conference, several of our own were able to speak about advancements in asphalt emulsions, workforce development strategies, and cold recycled pavements.
Dan Swiertz: Asphalt Materials Inc. | Lab Manager
Latest Advancements in Emulsions
The use of asphalt emulsions is ubiquitous throughout the lifecycle of an asphalt pavement. From new construction to recycling and reclamation, emulsions are formulated to deliver performance across a range of climatic regions and construction variables. New and innovative advancements in emulsion technology have created valuable opportunities for contractors and road owners alike. This presentation examined several advancements including penetrating emulsion and micro surfacing that offer unique opportunities to extend the pavement lifecycle.
Kierstin Janik: Heritage Construction + Materials | Chief Talent Officer
Workforce Development Strategies
As construction companies face lower workforce participation and an ageing workforce. The U.S. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law projects potentially creating 3.2 million new jobs across the non-residential construction value chain, and 300,000-600,000 new construction workers are needed to fill the gap with projected peak needs around 2027-2028. As a result, companies must develop holistic strategies to engage potential new employees and increase workforce development.
Kierstin discussed some approaches HC+M has taken recently including highlighting its employer brand through social media and emphasizing the industry’s meaningful work, safety, support and good wages. She also shared more about HC+M’s talent acquisition strategy that prioritizes investing in the future though programs with middle schools, high schools and universities.
Megan Yount: Heritage Research Group | Pvmt. Mat Engineering Manager
Characterizing Cold Recycled Pavements from Field-Sampled Cores
Replicating field-placed Cold In-place Recycled (CIR) and Cold Central Plant Recycled (CCPR) pavements with lab-produced mixtures may not accurately capture field conditions during construction, exact material proportions, or compaction effort. These factors often influence the resulting mixture properties, causing uncertainty that lab-produced mixtures reflect that of the in-situ pavement mixture. Examples from two State DOT projects were reviewed, followed by a discussion of results from tests including Dynamic Modulus, Marshall Stability, and Indirect Tensile Strength Testing.
On day three, conference attendees visited the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where they could see INDOT evaluation equipment and research posters, static displays, and field demonstrations. Several contractors showcased their equipment including a diamond grinder, greens broom scrubber, pavement evaluation van and more.
The live demonstrations listed below followed the static displays.
Hot in Place Recycling
Rapid Set Concrete Patch
Concrete Patch Materials
RMV Robotic Crack Sealer
RMV/Sealmaster Robotic Crack Sealer
Mastic and Crack Seal
Maltene Based Rejuvenator
Pavement Technology Inc.
Pavement Maintenance Systems/Etnyre
Robotic Crack SealerCTS Rapid Set Concrete PatchMicro-surfacing performed by Pavement SolutionsScrub Seal performed by Pavement Maintenance Systems
Asphalt Materials Inc. and Heritage Research Group had an amazing time attending NPPC and learning pavement preservation best practices from agencies and industry thought leaders. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth and for sharing your ideas about how to take care of our infrastructure!
Over the years, asphalt has become the most popular choice when it comes to selecting environmentally friendly pavements. To take it one step further, cold mix pavement layers have been developed to create even more sustainable products for road construction. Cold recycling techniques are methods that not only avoid the application of heat but reuse aged asphalt pavements already within the current infrastructure. This technique used helps treat raveling, potholes, skid resistance, rutting, block cracking, and so much more.
Cold recycling includes two subcategories, cold in place recycling (CIR) and cold central plant recycling (CCPR). In this article we will highlight a successful CIR project in Jefferson County, Indiana.
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.
It is important to plan ahead when considering pavement protection and preservation techniques. Proactive pavement protection is an infrastructure investment, but it can also help ensure safety for drivers. One important aspect of pavement preservation is to reduce air voids. When air voids are high, permeability is high, which adversely affects pavement life. This is why using a Rapid Penetrating Emulsion (RPE) soon after pavement construction can be a wise investment.
After beginning in the Midwest in 2002, VRAM has now been used in 23 states and The District of Columbia. VRAM stands for Void-Reducing Asphalt Membrane. Pavement maintenance due to longitudinal joint cracking has long been a problem for not only road construction engineers and applicators but also drivers. VRAM fills air voids and significantly reduces permeability at the longitudinal joint and the area on each side of the joint.
Recently, West Virginia’s Division of Highways (WVDOH) has encountered the issue of high permeability at the longitudinal joint and subsequent failure of their asphalt pavements. Longitudinal joint issues can arise when hot and cold lanes fail to adequately bond with one another. WVDOH is responsible for constructing, reconstructing, and maintaining more than 35,000 miles of state roads. So, it is evident that the issue of high permeability can create big, expensive problems for their division of highways and taxpayers.
In August of 2022, a project took place in Martinsville, IN with our Cold-In-Place Recycling (CIR) technology.
CIR is a cost-effective and sustainable method of constructing a recycled asphalt-bound layer that reduces trucking and construction time and saves natural resources. CIR is part of our AMICYCLE™ product portfolio, which also includes FDR (Full Depth Reclamation) and CCPR (Cold Central Plant Recycling).
Washington, D.C. – 2023 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting was held in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. This year’s theme was Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future. The meeting included exhibitors from academia, industry, and government agencies presenting the latest research findings, technical developments, and implementation efforts within the asphalt industry.
Asphalt Materials and HRG Labs had the unique opportunity to present two different posters at this year’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in early January.
“Impact of Rumble Strips on Longitudinal Joint Pavement Performance”
“Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane and Other Longitudinal Joint Treatments“
In 2021, ClimeCo collaborated with Asphalt Materials, Inc. (AMI) to complete an LCA-based sustainability assessment of J-Band®, AMI’s void reducing asphalt membrane (VRAM) product. Together, ClimeCo and AMI wrote and presented their paper and poster titled, “Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of a Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane and Other Longitudinal Joint Treatments” at this year’s TRB Annual Meeting.
Caroline Kelleher of ClimeCo explains the sustainability benefits of VRAM.
Caroline Kelleher and Gary Yoder from ClimeCo, Gerry Huber of HRG, and Todd Thomas from AMI are the paper’s authors. During the meeting, many attendees came by to learn more about the three sustainability attributes of J-Band: environmental, economic, and social (safety).
Caroline Kelleher of ClimeCo and Todd Thomas of AMI attended the 2023 TRB Annual Meeting.
Important conclusions of this paper include the following:
There is significant potential to develop transportation infrastructure in line with the principles of sustainable development
Sustainability is an increasingly important component of transportation infrastructure, with federal, regional, and state entities having a range of awareness and education programs, all while promoting the use of ‘green’ or sustainable roadway products.
Upstream emissions associated with materials production are outside the carbon accounting of direct emissions, i.e., scope three instead of scope one emissions, and thus, as agencies and contractors look to reduce their scope one emissions, they will be evaluating methods and materials which will allow for a reduction in fuel usage.
Longitudinal joint solutions that offer the lowest application-phase emissions, reduced maintenance needs, and extended road lifetimes, will result in the lowest scope one emissions. In this analysis, VRAM and joint adhesive have the lowest construction phase emissions.
VRAM had the most economical life cycle cost performance compared to conventional joints and maintenance.
To read this paper, poster, other studies, and educational items about VRAM and J-Band, click the Resources link below.
Sustainability is very important to Asphalt Materials, Heritage Construction + Materials, and The Heritage Group. There are three pillars of sustainability: Economic. Environmental. Social/Safety.
Understanding Sustainability, LCAs, Cradle-to-Grave . . . and More!
There are many sources that use 3 pillars to help explain sustainability. But, explaining the three pillars of sustainability first requires defining sustainability. The concept of sustainability arose from environmental activism. It’s taken to mean making sure that the current generation can meet its needs without making it impossible for future generations to meet theirs. That is, we can sustain ourselves and posterity only with practices that do no future harm.1
We often hear talk about social sustainability, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability. If we think of sustainability as the roof of a building that protects its occupants, we see that it takes all three pillars to hold it up. Sometimes people summarize them with the words people, profit, and planet. Weakness in any one pillar puts the roof in danger of collapsing. 1
Although the phrase “three pillars of sustainability” is common, one of the most helpful descriptions explains how they relate to each other via a Venn diagram. It comes closer to the related term “three spheres of sustainability.” In either case, no one of them can function optimally without both of the others as shown below.1
A Life Cycle Assessment A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), offers a framework for quantifying the potential environmental impacts of a product from cradle–to–grave (i.e., from growth/extraction of raw material inputs all the way through a product’s disposal), allowing us to make that determination. One of the many applications of an LCA is its ability to demonstrate the environmental benefits achieved by adopting different operational practices.
In February 2022, Gary Yoder and Jaskaran Sidhu wrote a story titled ‘What is a Life Cycle Assessment?’ This informative article highlights important information such as:
A Product’s Competitive Edge: Performance and Cost
Benefits of Product vs. Alternatives
Quantified GHGs and criteria air pollutants (AQ)
Using LCAs for a More Sustainable Future
To read the entire article, follow the link below: