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.