In this Executive Update we highlight Wisconsin's participation in the National Road Research Alliance based out of Minnesota, the WAPA Lunch & Learn sessions held this winter and spring, and new materials on asphalt parking lots from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance.
| National Road Research Alliance
In late May, WAPA Director of Engineering Deb Schwerman had the opportunity to take part in the National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) Pavement Conference in Minnesota.
The NRRA is a research consortium among state DOT, university and industry partners which has as its centerpiece the MnROAD test track.
NRRA helps guide strategic research planning for MnROAD field testing and also conducts technology transfer and outreach efforts like its Pavement Conference. Guiding asphalt work in particular is NRRA's Flexible Team.
NRRA provides yet another platform for close partnership and collaboration between highway owners and the asphalt industry in Wisconsin. Wisconsin DOT is an NRRA member, as are WAPA members Astec Industries, Flint Hills Resources, and Mathy Construction Company. Asphalt Pavement Alliance is also an NRRA member and represents the interests of WAPA and other state asphalt pavement associations.
"NCAT of the North"
Located near Albertville, Minnesota, the MnROAD Test Track provides dozens of unique test sections on both Interstate and low-volume roadways. By testing through winter weather, the field research conducted at MnROAD complements work at done at the Alabama-based National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT).
"At MnROAD, researchers can subject pavements to low temperatures and freeze-thaw cycles of the kind we experience here in Wisconsin," says Schwerman. "MnROAD and NCAT together are world-class research facilities that provide industry with the data we need to make asphalt pavements perform even better."
2017 Pavement Conference
At its May conference (full agenda), NRRA highlighted planned work for 2017. As detailed in the maps at right,
asphalt test sections will evaluate cold central plant recycling, recycled unbound base, thin overlays, and enhanced compaction techniques.
The Flex Team has put together an ambitious asphalt testing program,"
and stakeholders across the country are interested in seeing the results.
Although other rehabilitation options were reviewed, a frequent topic of discussion at the conference was cold in-place recycling (CIR). "It was a subject of one of the technical workshops on the first day," Schwerman says, "and attendees clearly wanted to know more."
"In this area, Wisconsin shone on the second day during the general presentations. Barry Paye from WisDOT and Angela Pakes of UW's Recycled Materials Resource Center each gave presentations on CIR," Schwerman says.
Barry Paye's presentation
included a comprehensive overview of CIR: equipment, construction methods, projects in Wisconsin, and benefits of CIR.
Angela Pakes' presentation
focused on the environmental benefits, including savings in energy consumption, water use, and carbon dioxide emissions.
"Whether it's CIR, full depth reclamation, pulverize and relay, or any other pavement rehab option, it's always great to see Wisconsin highlighted in such a positive way," Schwerman says.
WAPA will continue to take part in NRRA and MnROAD activities and collaborate closely with our partners. We look forward to more good work in the months and years ahead.
| WAPA Lunch & Learn Sessions
We appreciated the chance to dive into technical details of asphalt pavements with engineering consultants and local units of government all across the state. Topics that audiences were eager to learn about included new state specifications for tack use, the air void regression method to help improve pavement durability, and the Wisconsin combined asphalt bid/mix specification tool.
A Broad Reach
An exciting development for 2017 was that WAPA received invitations to give our Lunch & Learn presentations to three associations we don't often get a chance to address: the Wisconsin County Highway Association (WCHA), the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association (WTBA), and the Wisconsin Towns Association (WTA).
WAPA conducted Lunch & Learn sessions at the WCHA Winter Road School and the WTBA Contractor Engineering Conference in January, and we are on the schedule for the WTA's 2017 Convention this October in Stevens Point.
The two events conducted already involved larger groups than we typically address, exposing Lunch & Learn topics to broad audiences that included inspectors, designers, earthmovers, county commissioners, and contractors of all types. Our frank and open discussions about where asphalt is today and the direction it's going were very well received. We also took time to highlight WAPA's mission and high-value tools like our new Asphalt Pavement Design Guide.
State Specs, Local Benefit
One conversation that proved particularly useful was about how WisDOT guidance can be adapted for local use. For example, a smaller road owner can definitely benefit from using more tack or employing air void regression, but using WisDOT specifications would likely cause an undue burden in terms of testing and QA/QC.
WAPA encourages agencies to write local specifications to meet their needs, and WAPA is happy to provide guidance.
As a reminder, the Lunch & Learn sessions are free to WAPA members and their customers (highway owners and agencies at all levels of government). These sessions are available to industry non-members for a fee.
| Benefits of Asphalt Parking Lots
Anyone who has read through WAPA's recently-updated
Asphalt Pavement Design Guide
will have found helpful guidance for designing pavements beyond the lines of our roadways.
Included among the low-volume "Traffic Class I" pavements (see the discussion on page 14 in the guide) are residential driveways, school and recreational areas, playgrounds and tracks, bike path, sidewalks, and parking lots.
These specialty pavements represent an important market sector for asphalt, and we were pleased to see a recent publication from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance calling out the benefits of paving parking lots with asphalt.
Whether at a business, a shopping center, a school, house of worship, recreation area or apartment building, a PARKING LOT is one of the first things a person sees when arriving at their destination. ... Asphalt pavements are the superior choice for parking lots because they are quick to construct, long-lasting, sustainable and easy and cost-effective to maintain.
For more design guidance on building parking lots and other specialty applications, please contact WAPA and look for developments in future issues of our
Executive Update newsletter.
| Thank You and Have a Safe Summer
In closing, I'd like to pass along a few quick reminders...
November 28-29, 2017
Madison Marriott West
We will share a preliminary agenda on our website and through email communications in early fall.
Also, for WAPA members, if you didn't get a chance to participate in our premier
Wisconsin Asphalt Industry Insider
in April, we have a second issue planned for October; please look for details later this summer on how to participate.
Thanks for taking the time during the
season to check out this Executive Update. As always, if you have any questions about this information or if we can be of assistance in any other way, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Thanks again and stay in touch this summer.