Wisconsin DOT Earns Award From Asphalt Industry

Bureau of Technical Services recognized for efforts towards achieving pavement performance

Date: November 30, 2021
Contact: Brandon Strand (608) 255-3114

Madison – The Wisconsin Asphalt Pavement Association (WAPA) announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Bureau of Technical Services (BTS) was the recipient of the 2021 State Award for advancing innovation in asphalt pavements. BTS was recognized at a ceremony during the association’s 62nd Annual Conference in Wisconsin Dells.

In 2012, a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) review revealed several challenges in Wisconsin’s Quality Assurance Program. Since then, BTS has addressed these issues with a hands on approach and made significant improvements to pavement performance in the process.

The timeline below provides a visual representation of the efforts BTS has made since 2013. The list is long and illustrates years of hard work to achieve lasting change for the state of Wisconsin.

“We commend the department for incorporating quality control measures into their program to ensure long-term pavement performance,” said Brandon Strand, Executive Director for WAPA. “The road to success is always under construction and we are proud of the partnership we have with the department because we can do great things when we work together,” Strand concluded.

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“Asphalt. Wisconsin rides on us.” Established in 1948, WAPA is a statewide, non-profit organization representing the interests of the asphalt industry on a wide range of issues related to pavement design, construction, maintenance, specifications, costs, marketing, and policy at the local, state, and federal levels. WAPA’s mission is to promote quality asphalt pavements that are safe, sustainable, durable, and cost-effective.

For more information, please visit www.wispave.org or contact us at info@wispave.org

*Timeline Events Summary

  • 2013
    • Quality Verification (QV) testing increased by 83% for Quality Management Program (QMP) projects.
  • 2014
    • Voids in Mineral Aggregate (VMA) was increased by ½% for surface mixtures and a 5% increase in the tensile strength ratio of moisture susceptible mixes.
  • 2015
    • PG 64-22 binders were removed and the state established 2 climatic zones utilizing PG 58-34 and PG 58-28 which has significantly reduced both thermal and fatigue cracking.
  • 2016
    • WisDOT moved to a combined bid format, and restructured the bid item system.
    • From 2013-2016, WisDOT developed a new material acceptance program called Percent Within Limits (PWL).
      • PWL provides a foundation for delivering consistent material quality.
    • WisDOT also implemented nuclear gauge to core correlations which took the not as accurate gauge reading differences of over 1% down to nearly 0.1% along with the addition of test strips for quality control measures.
  • 2017
    • WisDOT increased the minimum density requirement and implemented air void regression.
      • Improvements in density requirements correlate to longer lasting pavements.
      • Additional AC through regressed air voids and increased VMA approaches improves aging characteristics as well as decreases cracking sensitivity.
  • 2018 and 2019
    • Longitudinal joint density was established and is now an official part of the PWL program along with performance testing.
      • Joints which have been traditionally neglected during construction and a main source of early pavement failures are now receiving the attention they require.
  • 2020
    • WisDOT implemented ignition oven testing to verify percent asphalt in all mixtures.

WisDOT uses a data driven approach when implementing new specifications and uses continual self-evaluation to improve its programs. Each of the improvements to the specification over the last 8 years, have been instrumental in making Wisconsin’s QAP a success.