This Executive Update features the "Asphalt Pavement Principles" videos from FHWA, a visit to Wisconsin from FHWA staff to discuss performance testing, discussions with D.C. and Madison lawmakers on transportation funding, and a podcast on proper pavement maintenance to help combat potholes.
 "Asphalt Pavement Principles" Video Series

The Federal Highway Administration recently published three videos in a series titled Asphalt Pavement Principles. In these short videos, the federal agency points to the keys to succeeding with asphalt, building on the foundation of guidance offered by our industry.

The three videos  address considerations for  Density and Durability, Smoothness and Long-Life Pavements, including advice from nationally-recognized experts and practitioners. We're pleased to report that among these individuals, WAPA's own engineering director, Deb Schwerman, is featured providing her expertise and experience to a national audience.

Click on any image or link below to play, and please share these with others to pass along our federal government's perspective on the keys to building a high-performance transportation system. 

Asphalt Pavement Principles: Density and Durability
More than 18 billion tons of asphalt pavement are in place on U.S. roads. Long-lasting asphalt pavements are the result of collaborative partnerships between researchers, manufacturers, paving contractors, and agencies. When striving to make asphalt pavements more durable, research and lessons learned show that density is an important factor. This video talks about several keys to achieving proper asphalt pavement density, as well as new technologies that are moving the asphalt industry forward.

Asphalt Pavement Principles: Smoothness
Properly designed and constructed asphalt roads have an important quality that travelers appreciate.... a smooth and quiet ride! Smoother roads also mean lower fuel costs, less vehicle wear and tear, and lower emissions. This video talks about several keys to achieving smoother asphalt pavements as well as how smoothness specifications are shaping the industry today.

Asphalt Pavement Principles: Long-Life Pavements
Long-Life Pavements, traditionally called Perpetual Pavements, are multi-layer pavement designs built from the bottom up, with each layer engineered to maximize pavement life. Long-Life Pavement designs provide agencies with an approach that reduces the life-cycle costs of a pavement. With this approach, asphalt roads can be built with a structure that lasts many decades with only periodic surface renewal and maintenance required, making it an ideal choice for drivers, engineers, and the traveling public.

The videos above, along with additional ones published by the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, can also be found on the Videos page of the WAPA website.

 FHWA Learns about Performance Testing from Wisconsin

The Federal Highway Research Administration has been working toward developing a national strategic plan for performance testing of asphalt pavements. The goal is to move from traditional volumetric test methods toward performance-based testing, which better predicts how mixes will fare in the field.

A key step for FHWA was to learn more about performance testing in practice. Critical questions included: What work is already being done in this area? Which tests are the most reliable in predicting field performance over time? Can the test be performed during day-to-day operations?
To answer questions like these, FHWA representatives traveled to our state -- well known as a leader in performance testing -- to learn about Wisconsin experiences and insights.

On March 18 and 19, staff from FHWA headquarters and FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in Virginia were joined by FHWA Wisconsin Division staff, WAPA representatives, and WAPA member companies Mathy Construction, Payne & Dolan, and Stark Pavement for tours of asphalt plants, visits to design and testing labs, presentations, and Q-and-A sessions.

The FHWA visitors had a chance to engage in dialogue with Wisconsin practitioners and learn firsthand how Wisconsin asphalt producers and contractors have made performance-based testing work. They learned how testing for good resistance to thermal cracking, fatigue cracking, and rutting (rather than seeking to meet tight design and construction parameters) allows for innovative design and the use of locally sourced materials. It also helps  identify and weed out poor performing mixes prior to construction.

Readers of this newsletter can look forward to this topic being addressed at WAPA's 2019 annual conference. General and technical breakout sessions will provide guidance on performance testing and balanced mix design among other topics. The agenda will be available later this year.
 Taking the Message to Lawmakers in D.C. and Madison

Two events this spring gave Wisconsin's transportation industry the chance to voice to lawmakers the need for transportation funding at the federal and state levels.

The Transportation Development Association (TDA) of Wisconsin's Fly-In to Washington D.C. was held April 2-4. As always, this event provided WAPA and other Wisconsin transportation organizations unparalleled access to our federal lawmakers. Highlights of the visit included candid sit-down discussions with Representative Mike Gallagher from Green Bay, who serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Representative Bryan Steil from Janesville, and others influential policymakers.

In addition, the Fly-In included presentations from Washington insiders and national experts, as well as practical guidance about how to give plant tours and make district office visits. The Fly-In left the visiting Wisconsin delegation focused and energized to deliver the messages back home.

That opportunity was afforded at the May 22 TDA "Turnout for Transportation" Drive-In in Madison, where WAPA and others met with state lawmakers to have vital conversations about transportation funding. Drive-In office visits included:
  • Joint Finance Committee Co-Chairs: Senator Alberta Darling and Representative John Nygren
  • Assembly leadership: Speaker Robin Vos, Minority Leader Gordon Hintz
  • Senate leaders: Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Minority Leader Jennifer Shillling
  • Transportation Chairs: Senator Jerry Petrowski, Representative Bob Kulp
These discussions are critical to help our state elected officials hear the vital message that doing  nothing is not an option.
 TDA On the Go Podcast: Potholes

Wisconsin roads suffer more potholes every spring because of years of deferred maintenance.  This is explained in a recent episode of TDA On the Go podcast featuring WAPA's Deb Schwerman .

The episode captures a conversation among Schwerman, her counterpart representing Wisconsin's concrete industry, and TDA. In this discussion, Schwerman explains the importance of the right treatment at the right time to help alleviate the most serious pavement damage.

Depending on the nature of the distress and the remaining service life, this can mean anything from maintenance to rehabilitation to reconstruction. As always, investment in early preventive measures will cost far less than delays -- and bigger problems down the road.

 One More Time

The importance of properly funding and maintaining our transportation system can't be stressed enough. As a parting message, I'd like to share a new video from NAPA and the state asphalt pavement associations titled  Delaying the Rebuilding of Our Infrastructure Impacts American Progress . It includes perspectives from national and state stakeholders on why infrastructure investment must be a priority. I urge you to take two minutes to hear the compelling case they make.

And finally, please save the date for our 2019 conference. More details will follow soon.

WAPA's 60th Annual Conference and Business Meeting
December 3-4, 2019
Ingleside Hotel (formerly Country Springs Hotel)
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

As always, please let me know if you have any question or if WAPA can be of service. I look forward to seeing you later this year.