This Executive Update from WAPA features Wisconsin and national news and updates on asphalt pavements. Also: We have announced dates for the 2021 Annual Conference and Business Meeting!
Asphalt Wins on Life-Cycle Cost Analysis
Life-cycle cost analysis, or LCCA, is a decision-making tool that takes into account both the present-day costs of building a pavement and the projected costs of maintenance and repair over the duration of the analysis period. As such, it is important for each agency to make informed decisions to get the least expensive project by understanding the process of pavement design analysis when comparing pavement options.
WAPA recently presented on the topic, diving into the details to explain the factors used to determine LCCA, common missteps and how to avoid them, and other considerations that may influence the choice of pavement structure. 

Analysis clearly shows that asphalt roads can be built more quickly and cost-effectively than other pavement types, making them the ideal choice for drivers, engineers, and the traveling public for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, asphalt pavements are generally regarded as the low-cost option for initial construction -- but that's just a start. When designing a project, agencies need to determine the long-term viability of pavement designs, and asphalt wins when all economic factors like maintenance, user delay, reconstruction, rehabilitation, restoration, and resurfacing costs are considered over the life of a project segment. By all metrics, asphalt is consistently the best option based on safety, speed of construction, smoothness, sustainability, and of course, cost-effectiveness.
(Sample design provided by WisDOT)
When repairs need to be done, asphalt pavements provide a more uniform surface that can't be matched by other pavement types. Smooth roads don’t just save taxpayer money on fuel economy and vehicle wear and tear, they are also safer because they reduce driver fatigue and offer users more vehicle control. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has also determined that pavement smoothness is a key factor for ensuring road user satisfaction. Furthermore, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) acknowledges that asphalt measures smoother than new concrete roads, indicating that new asphalt pavement has half the international roughness index (IRI) value. In short, smoothness matters. 
Asphalt roads do not require curing time or extensive site preparation, and can accommodate traffic as soon as the rollers have finished. Roads can be paved a lane at a time, minimizing disruption to commuters and reducing congestion through speedy construction practices, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars in user delay costs, lane closures and long-term traffic control measures. Projects can often be completed in one short day -- even overnight -- leaving routes open for travelers and providing street access for stores and businesses. That’s why business owners and the traveling public prefer asphalt pavements: time is money!
Asphalt is also 100 percent reusable and the most recycled product in America. To illustrate this value related to LCCA, a lot of material can be recycled at the end of a pavement's life when it’s time for reconstruction. However, asphalt is the only pavement that can be fully recycled. The aggregate and binder within an asphalt mixture can both be reclaimed, giving asphalt a salvage value of approximately $25 a ton. Since portland cement powder cannot be reactivated once it’s used, concrete pavement can only be recycled as aggregate base for a much lower salvage value of $6 per ton. The asphalt industry reuses and recycles 100 million tons of asphalt pavement per year, saving taxpayers over $2 billion annually.
In summary, LCCA is a powerful money-saving tool when used properly and in accordance with both FHWA guidelines and WisDOT policy. When the same level of service is considered in design to determine the lowest long-term cost of a project, asphalt always wins.
Infrastructure Funding Moves Forward
On August 10, the U.S. Senate voted 69-30 to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes a five-year reauthorization of federal-aid highway programs and an additional $110 billion in highway, roads and bridge investments that will spark a decade-long infrastructure rebuilding boom. In addition to predictable funding for paving projects, the bill successfully advances several industry priorities, which were outlined in our December 2020Build Back Better with Asphalt package to then-incoming Biden administration. These include:

  • Reauthorization of the Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) program to continue advancing the latest innovations, best practices and technologies for constructing and maintaining high-quality, long-lasting pavements valued at $30 million.
  • Increased federal contributions to safety contingency funds to improve work zone safety, protecting workers and motorists from injury and fatalities during roadway construction projects using innovative contracting methods that enhance work zone safety.
  • The absence of pavement type selection mandates, maintaining neutrality on highway pavement materials issues and leaving it to individual state experts to determine the most cost-effective and efficient pavement type for each project.

We also secured a legislative victory on another significant issue thanks to the efforts of WAPA members. Through continuous outreach and communication with Senator Baldwin's office on "Buy America," the bill provides an exemption for us, ensuring that U.S.-based pavement material producers can access high-quality asphalt binders and aggregates, safeguarding state-funding projects without supply chain disruptions or unnecessary additional costs to taxpayers. We commend Senator Baldwin's staff for continuing to discuss the issue, learning from industry, and responding with action from the feedback received. This isn't always the case with congressional offices and we thank her staff for their assistance.
The bill now heads back to the U.S. House of Representatives, where debate on the infrastructure bill may take months to negotiate. With transportation funding set to expire this fall, rest assured that WAPA will continue to actively support a robust, multi-year highway investment to supercharge the nation's long-term economic recovery and productivity post-pandemic with an emphasis on asphalt pavements.
Updated Asphalt Design Tool
Back in 2016 the Wisconsin Asphalt Bid/Mix Specification Tool was developed as a joint effort between WisDOT and WAPA to help users identify the appropriate hot mix asphalt bid items in the new combined bid system. This tool has been continually updated to reflect specification changes and newly created WisDOT bid items. 

Over the summer, the tool was updated again with additional mix combinations for non-traditional WisDOT items. Users now have the option to add binder modification to lower layers within a pavement structure.

Check out the tool to see what it can do for you, and contact WAPA if you have any questions about using this resource.
WAPA on the Road
WAPA and its nearly 40 peer associations across the country form the State Asphalt Pavement Associations (SAPAs). In addition to getting together before every National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) annual meeting, SAPA executives also meet each summer for in-depth discussions about what's happening in our states.

Earlier this month I had the chance to sit down with my fellow SAPA execs in Oklahoma City. This was an excellent opportunity for us to discuss the wide range of issues that affect the asphalt pavement industry as experienced from our respective states.
Find out what's happening with each state's asphalt pavement association using WAPA's interactive map.

Roundtables and one-on-one discussions touched on everything from association management best practices, technical innovations and specification changes, to legislation, funding and long-term industry trends. The candid exchanges with other execs are tremendously helpful. It's useful to know that we face common challenges, and I always learn new approaches to overcome challenges.
2021 SAPA Officers (from L to R) Treasurer: Brandon Strand, Wisconsin; Secretary: Reed Ryan, Utah; Vice Chair: Kevin Monaco, New Jersey; Chair: Bruce Barkevich, New York.
Wisconsin was also nominated to join the SAPA executive committee for the first time in over 25 years and I am excited about the opportunity to represent our collective group in a new leadership role. I look forward to continued, active involvement with the SAPAs as a way to better serve WAPA members and to work more effectively with our partners back home.

Last month, we also attended the 2021 NAPA Midyear Meeting in Nashville. The midyear meeting is smaller in size and scope than NAPA's annual meeting, and the main order of business is committee work. Both WAPA Engineering Director Deb Schwerman and I are actively involved on a number of NAPA committees, either as members or guests.
Brandon Strand’s NAPA Committees

  • Communications
  • Go-To-Market Task Group
  • Legislative
  • Pavement Economics
  • Political Action
  • Workforce Development
Deb Schwerman’s NAPA Committees

  • Asphalt Research & Technology
  • Engineering Application & Practice
  • Environmental
  • Health & Safety
  • Pavement Economics
  • Sustainability
This committee engagement lets us keep track of and provide input on NAPA's agenda for research and advocacy and ensures that NAPA is working in the best interest of Wisconsin's asphalt industry.
In Closing
As we look to the fall, please save the date:

WAPA's 62nd Annual Conference and Business Meeting
November 30 - December 1, 2021
Kalahari Resort
Wisconsin Dells

We will also be offering a free webinar series this fall to complement our annual meeting. A tentative agenda will be published shortly with registration to follow soon after. But such as life these days, details are subject to change between now and November. Please look for updated information on our website, in our newsletter and through email communications in the coming weeks.

Also, for WAPA members, our Wisconsin Asphalt Industry Insider will have an October 2021 issue. Please look for details soon on how to participate. Remember, this is a unique outreach opportunity that is included in your membership at no additional cost.

As always, if you have any questions about this information or if we can be of assistance in any way, please don't hesitate to contact us. Thank you,