This Executive Update features news and updated guidance from WAPA as well as dates for the 2021 Annual Conference and Business Meeting.
Pavement Buckling Alert
We've been hearing a lot about pavement buckling in the news lately, but why do some roads buckle more than others?

According to Wisconsin's Department of Transportation, rising temperatures create conditions for pavement buckling. A road buckle is a result of concrete expanding during warmer weather, causing slabs of concrete to expand and push against each other. If the pressure becomes great enough, the pavement can buckle and create unexpected bumps or dips.

It isn't uncommon for concrete roadways to buckle in the summer. Cracks or joints where moisture can infiltrate and cause swelling only make the problem worse and buckling, or "blow-ups," occur in concrete surfaces, which are less flexible than asphalt.
A recent project from the Wisconsin Highway Research Program highlighted that "Because buckling incidents on concrete pavement immediately impact traffic flow and public safety, it requires urgent, costly, and time-consuming emergency repairs with full or partial lane closures." Hundreds of buckling events have occurred in recent years on older sections of concrete as well as newer concrete pavements.

While it’s difficult to predict if or where buckling may occur, WisDOT offers these tips:

  • Slow down, buckle up and focus your full attention on the roadway.
  • Watch for slowing traffic and be ready to move over for all roadside workers, including highway crews as they repair damaged pavement.
  • Before your trip, check the 511 Travel Information system ( for the latest on any incidents or delays.
  • If necessary, report serious pavement issues by calling 911. Be ready to provide specific location information.

Please be safe driving out there!
Advocating for Transportation Funding
As the transportation construction industry continues to provide essential infrastructure services and our nation prepares for the long economic recovery ahead, WAPA commends our industry's contributions through ongoing legislative efforts at the federal and state levels.

Asphalt industry representatives participated in the virtual Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Legislative Fly-In on May 20, marking the event's 20th anniversary. The annual event, which provides a forum for congressional committee leaders and members of the transportation industry to discuss new and upcoming legislative activity, focused this year on passing a long-term, sustainable surface reauthorization bill this summer.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged that TCC members "put the 'build' in build back better." Reflecting on major projects that drove America's progress during the last 200 years, he remarked that now, too, "We need a generational investment in our transportation infrastructure." With this, Secretary Buttigieg underscored the value of present-day investment to inspire "a new generation of construction workers to turn new jobs into new careers."

As America battled the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, our transportation infrastructure network remained a vital lifeline. It allowed essential workers to report to their jobs safely and ensured that supplies got to hospitals and grocery stores on time. It provided first responders and emergency personnel with quick and reliable routes to their destinations, and it continues to be critical to the delivery and distribution of vaccines.

The TCC created the Hardhats for Highways initiative to help mobilize the effort to secure transportation infrastructure investment.
A compilation of new data shows federal highway programs have also been a success story over the past five years.

From fiscal years 2016-2020, states leveraged $200 billion in federal funds to support over $340.5 billion in improvements. Nearly 111,000 new highway and bridge projects have moved forward in 3,000 U.S. counties under the current law and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs were created and sustained along the way. In communities across America, thousands of other worthy projects are ready to be the latest examples of infrastructure renewal.

Rest assured, as funding is set to expire this fall, WAPA is actively supporting a robust-multi-year highway investments bill to supercharge the nation's long-term economic recovery and productivity post-pandemic. Let's get the job done now.

2021 WAPA Resources
WAPA is pleased to announce our new and updated 2021 Asphalt Pavement Design Guide.

This guide builds on core information provided in WisDOT’s Standard Specifications to address a wide range of topics related to asphalt pavement design in Wisconsin.

New for 2021: This publication incorporates the latest WisDOT design guidance found in the 2022 standard specifications recently published by WisDOT. Additional updated guidance and links can be found throughout this guide as well.

This publication communicates the fundamentals and fine points of asphalt (or blacktop) pavement design, construction, and rehabilitation. It is intended for use by contractors, architects, engineers, developers, owners, and officials at all levels of government responsible for roads, highways, parking lots, and driveways.

The chapters in the guide are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Quality Asphalt Pavements
  3. Materials for Asphalt Pavements
  4. Asphalt Mix Design
  5. Using WisDOT Specifications on Non-WisDOT Projects
  6. Pavement Design Considerations
  7. Thickness Guides for Asphalt Pavements
  8. Pavement Management Systems
  9. Pavement Rehabilitation
  10. Asphalt for Recreational and Industrial Uses
  11. Materials Requirements Table
  12. References

In addition, we updated our Asphalt Parking Lot Design Guide for 2021 as well.
This companion to WAPA’s Asphalt Pavement Design Guide focuses on all phases of asphalt parking lot design. The guide is organized into five chapters:

  • Assessment and Planning
  • Subgrade and Drainage
  • Construction
  • Maintenance
  • References

Also included is a comprehensive 61-point Inspection Checklist to help an on-site inspector identify key processes and follow best practices to produce a quality parking lot, and a two-page Guide for New Parking Lot Owners that explains what to expect from a new parking lot, best practices for optimum performance, and maintenance tips.

2021 update: This publication updates the 20-Year Design ESALs from 2 million to 1 million (found in Tables 3.1 and 3.2).

Many hours are spent designing aesthetically pleasing parking lots, and great curb appeal starts with an asphalt pavement. A parking lot is an investment in the appearance of your business and in the safety of your customers. Asphalt pavements have no built-in, unsightly cracks, and blend in with and enhance its natural surroundings.

Thank you to WAPA Engineering Director Deborah Schwerman for providing major updates to the recent editions of these guides. Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues and customers.

Thank You and Have a Safe Summer!
In closing, I'd like to pass along a few quick reminders.

First, please save the date for our 2021 conference:

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

We are also excited to announce that we will be offering a free webinar series this fall as well to supplement our annual meeting. Please look for more details on our website, in our newsletter, and through email communications in early fall.

Lastly, for WAPA members, our Wisconsin Asphalt Industry Insider will have an October 2021 issue. Please look for details soon on how to participate.

Thanks for taking the time during the heart of the paving season to read this newsletter. As always, please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if there is ever any way we may be of assistance.

Thanks again and stay in touch this summer.