Tag Archive for 'Asphalt pavements'

Going the Distance

High-Volume Asphalt Maintenance Mixture Sets Innovative Roadway Solutions on the Path to Productivity

The hardest part of a project for most contractors is the bid. Balancing customer specs with overhead costs to produce a number both sides are comfortable with takes skill and a deep understanding of an operation’s capabilities. Partnering with industry-leading OEMs to provide efficiency-optimizing equipment can give contractors an edge in the bidding process. But a tool is only as good as the hand wielding it – or, in the case of asphalt preservation applications, the one applying it. In this competitive industry, a successful bid requires expert leveraging of experience and equipment to provide quality results with no waste.

For Innovative Roadway Solutions success means taking advantage of new innovations, even if they present a challenge to current processes. The company partnered with Neal Manufacturing to help meet quality and efficiency needs on specialized high-volume highway and shoulder applications

For Innovative Roadway Solutions – a pavement preservation specialist operating in Texas, Missouri, and the surrounding states – success also means taking advantage of new innovations, even if they present a challenge to current processes. This was the case when the company began using Onyx, a high-performance mastic sealer produced by Ingevity and spec’d by several DOTs in its operating area. To apply Onyx efficiently, Innovative Roadway Solutions needed an OEM partner with not only the experience to produce reliable equipment for the high-aggregate mixture; it needed a manufacturer willing to listen and custom-engineer machines for specialized high-volume highway and shoulder applications. So, the company turned to Neal Manufacturing, a division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC, for a solution to help them maintain their reputation for quality and dependability and still be able to submit competitive bids. 

Challenging the Status Quo

With more than 30 years of experience, Innovative Roadway Solutions always strives to provide affordable preventative maintenance applications that extend the longevity of asphalt roadways. In 2017, the company became part of Lionmark Construction Companies, a privately held group specializing in pavement preservation and road and bridge construction. The acquisition extended Innovative Roadway Solutions’ service area and gave the company a chance to grow, doubling its size in just two years.

One thing that remained constant throughout the growth period is the company’s commitment to harnessing the latest technology and products for the benefit of its customers. New and existing employees worked together to ensure Innovative Roadway Solutions remained just that – innovative. As they grew service offerings, they looked to incorporate processes and products popular across Lionmark’s area of operation.

Onyx was one such product. Introduced in 2012, the frictional mastic surface treatment quickly gained popularity with DOTs across the U.S. It offers high durability with frictional characteristics achieved from improving micro texture on the pavement surface. Fast drying times makes it popular with contractors and motorists alike, while the consistently black color offers striking contrast for aesthetic and safety benefits. For Innovative Roadway Solutions, the high-performance product looked to revolutionize pavement preservation processes in terms of durability and affordability. 

“Onyx was starting to show up on the spec sheets for DOT projects in numerous states, which are about 95 percent of our business, but even where customers weren’t specifically asking for it, we recognized its value for certain applications,” said Kevin King, President of Innovative Roadway Solutions. “The product bridged the gap between a fog seal and slurry seal, allowing us to offer customers another solution that would extend the life of their road surface without breaking the bank.”

Innovative Roadway Solutions worked with Neal Manufacturing to retrofit one of its existing high-volume application trucks with the HDP system and spray apparatus. It also bought a new 3,000-gallon truck system from the OEM. Equipped with the Generation IV 150-gpm pump, the new truck provided productivity like never before.

But there were a few bumps in the road when it came to integrating the new product into its service lineup.

The Path to Productivity

“Contracts with government agencies at the city, county and state level aren’t easy to get,” King said. “It’s not just about the lowest bid, though that is definitely a part of it. It’s about reputation. The high aggregate composition of Onyx requires a stronger pump than other spray applications. To maintain our reputation for quality and dependability and still be able to submit competitive bids, we needed specialized equipment that provided the volume and precision that customers required.”

When it came to pump design, Innovative Roadways Solutions knew there was no one in the pavement preservation industry with more experience than Neal Manufacturing and their parent company, Blastcrete Equipment LLC. Both companies have long histories of pump innovations. Since the 1950s, Blastcrete Equipment has been at the forefront of shotcrete pumping technology – introducing several equipment designs over the years that revolutionized applications in refractory and construction applications. Neal Manufacturing has similar claims to pump fame in the pavement preservation industry. Before its merger with Blastcrete in 2013, the company made significant innovations to hydraulic piston pumps to allow more efficiency and longevity for use with asphalt sealcoating products. Once the companies began operating out of the same Alabama-based facility, engineers continued to expand pump capacities for a number of applications. This combined experience and continued innovation earned Innovative Roadway Solutions’ trust.

“When dealing with high-aggregate products, Blastcrete provides a unique expertise other OEMs don’t have,” King said. “Their pumps are originally designed to handle robust, difficult materials. When they integrated that technology with Neal Manufacturing equipment, which already had excellent pumps for traditional preservation coatings, we knew we were working with a winning team for developing high-aggregate pavement preservation equipment.”

As Innovative Roadway Solutions made the transition to Onyx applications, the team worked with Neal Manufacturing to upgrade the pumps on some of their existing equipment to a more reliable hydraulic piston pump. Neal Manufacturing’s heavy-duty aggregate pump (HDP) system offered the fastest transfer rate on the market – up to 150 gpm – but more importantly, produced enough pressure to move mixtures with up to 10 pounds of sand per gallon. 

With a metering system custom-engineered from Neal Manufacturing, Innovative Roadway Solutions could accurately assess application rates and ensure uniform distribution of the surface treatment, allowing the contractor to remain a competitive bidder with agencies across its area of operation.

“Using Onyx with a traditional pump system results in a lot of unnecessary downtime,” King said. “Asphalt maintenance has a very limited season, only about seven months in some of the states we work in, so we need to make every minute count. Neal Manufacturing’s equipment is simple, easy to use and durable. With it there’s less cleaning, less maintenance and fewer clogs, saving us valuable minutes every day.” 

To truly maximize its potential on high-volume projects, Innovative Roadway Solutions needed more than a heavy-duty pump – it needed a reliable system with the precision to meet government agency specs. 

Miles to Go

Innovative Roadway Solutions worked with Neal Manufacturing to retrofit one of its existing high-volume application trucks with the HDP system and spray apparatus. It also bought a new 3,000-gallon truck system from the OEM. Equipped with the Generation IV 150-gpm pump, the new truck provided productivity like never before.

The basic design also provided a number of features that made application more user friendly for Innovative Roadway Solution crews. In-cab controls allowed drivers to easily control spray bar height for optimum control as weight shifted during application. This on-board system was also capable of controlling individual heads to provide more precision and flexibility for applications on narrow surfaces. 

However, the precision required by DOT and other government agencies still needed to be accounted for.

“We were bidding on projects with specified application rates, but, at first, we didn’t have a way to monitor that with the Neal Manufacturing system,” King said. “We had the right equipment but the trucks had to be modified to meet our customers’ standards. With Neal Manufacturing’s reputation for customized solutions, we knew we had the right partner to help us develop the appropriate equipment for our operation.”

True to their reputation, Neal Manufacturing listened to exactly what Innovative Roadway Solutions needed and engineered a metering system to work in conjunction with the contractor’s High-Volume Road Maintenance Vehicle. The system combined information for four load cells positioned on the corners of the tank with a component that measures distance to provide an accurate application rate. The OEM also included an on-board printer to provide immediate results when necessary. 

“It’s not always easy to find a manufacturer that’s willing to collaborate,” King said. “Often what you see is what you get when it comes to pavement preservation equipment. Or you have to wait awhile for the updated model to come out. Having Neal Manufacturing on our team meant that not only did we get the upgrades we needed quickly, but they’re now standard and will be available on the next high-volume vehicle we buy.”

With the new system, Innovative Roadway Solutions could accurately assess application rates and ensure uniform distribution, allowing the contractor to remain a competitive bidder with agencies across its area of operation.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Since 2017, Innovative Roadway Solutions has completed approximately 25 contracts spec’ing Onyx. The majority of these have been with local, state or federal agencies, requiring a high degree of precision, quality and dependability. All of which the asphalt maintenance contractor provides time and again.

“We’re still submitting the low bid for these projects,” King said, “but at this point, some of these agencies are more like our loyal customers. They know we will get the job done quickly, efficiently, and to spec.”

For one such project, completed for the Paris District of the TxDOT, Innovative Roadway Solutions applied 767,331 square yards of Onyx in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day weekend in 2019. As part of the overall job, crews used the Neal Manufacturing equipment to apply the mastic sealer to 207,748 square yards of parking areas, boat ramps, main grounds and RV spots at US Army Corps of Engineers Lake Jim Chapman at Cooper Dam, commonly called Cooper Lake. The application didn’t disturb visitors and surfaces were dry enough to resume normal traffic in time for the holiday. 

“This is a great time to be in the asphalt maintenance industry,” King said. “The process is changing. New products are coming out. Experienced manufacturers are stepping up to provide the equipment we need to leverage these to our customer’s advantage. It’s an ideal environment for Innovative Roadway Solutions to continue growing and continue pushing ourselves.”

This material appeared in the June 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder


A record number of 12 departments of transportation honored for success of long-life asphalt roads.

ORANGE PARK, Florida – Twelve departments of transportation (DOTs) were named winners of the 2019 Perpetual Pavement Award (PPA) by the Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA). This is a record number of PPAs awarded in a single year since the awards were first presented in 2001. The award celebrates long-life asphalt pavements that reflect the characteristics of a Perpetual Pavement design.

The award is presented to state DOTs and local agency road owners for well-performing asphalt pavements that are at least 35 years old with proven high-quality structural design. To earn the award, the pavement must have not suffered a structural failure, and it should have an average interval between resurfacing of no less than 13 years. The pavement must demonstrate the characteristics expected from long-life, Perpetual Pavement design: excellence in design, quality in construction and value to taxpayers.

Engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University evaluated the nominations and validated the results for the 12 Perpetual Pavement Award winners for 2019. Since the PPA was first presented in 2001, 144 pavements in 31 U.S. states and one Canadian province have been honored with the award.

The 2019 winners are:

  • Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) for a 4.9-mile section of a four-lane divided highway on State Route 210/Ross Clark Circle in Houston County. This is the eleventh PPA for ALDOT.
  • Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) for a 2.10-mile section of two-lane U.S. Highway 79 (Section 10) in Jefferson County. ARDOT has earned 10 PPAs.
Arkansas ARDOT
  • Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Region 3 for a 23-mile section of two-lane State Highway 141 in Mesa County. This is CDOT’s third PPA. 
Colorado CDOT
  • Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for a 9.4-mile section of a six-lane roadway on Interstate 95 in St. Johns County. This is the tenth PPA for FDOT.
  • Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) State Highway Administration for an 8.3-mile section of six-lane Interstate 70 WB in Frederick County. MDOT has earned five PPAs.
  • Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) for a 15-mile section of two-lane U.S. Highway 2 in Roosevelt County. This is the fifth PPA for MDT.
Montana DOT
  • Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) for a 5.7-mile section of two-lane U.S. Highway 6 in Hitchcock County. NDOT has earned four PPAs.
Nebraska NDOT
  • North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) for an 11.3-mile section of two-lane North Dakota Highway 5 in Pembina County. This is the first PPA for NDDOT.
North Dakota NDDOT
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for a 2.2-mile section of two-lane State Route 0956 (Segments 50 to 80) in Lawrence County. PennDOT has earned nine PPAs.
  • South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) for a 10-mile section of four-lane Interstate 26 in Calhoun and Lexington counties. This is the eighth PPA for SCDOT.
  • Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for a 2.3-mile section of four-lane State Route 96 in Rutherford County. This is TDOT’s fifteenth PPA.
  • Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for a 7.1-mile section of two-lane State Route 12 in Lewis County. WSDOT has earned six PPAs.

Winning agencies are honored by their local state asphalt pavement association and are presented with an engraved crystal obelisk. The names of the winning agencies and projects are added to a plaque on permanent display at the NCAT Research Center at Auburn University.

“One of the keys to sustainability is long life,” said Amy Miller, P.E., National Director of the APA. “Asphalt roads can be engineered to last indefinitely with only routine maintenance and periodic surface renewal.”

The Asphalt Pavement Alliance (www.driveasphalt.org) is a partnership of the Asphalt Institute (AI), National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations. The Asphalt Pavement Alliance’s mission is to establish asphalt as the preferred choice for quality, performance and the environment.

The Asphalt Institute (www.asphaltinstitute.org) is the international trade association of petroleum asphalt producers, manufacturers and affiliated businesses. AI promotes the use, benefits and quality performance of petroleum asphalt, through engineering, research, marketing and educational activities.

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (www.asphaltpavement.org) represents the interests of U.S. asphalt producers/contractors before Congress, federal agencies, and other national trade and business organizations. NAPA supports an active research program designed to improve the quality of asphalt pavements and paving techniques used in the construction of roads, streets, highways, parking lots, airports, and environmental and recreational facilities.

The State Asphalt Pavement Associations (www.asphaltpavement.org/sapas) represent the interests of asphalt pavement producers and paving companies at the state and local level across the United States.

Asphalt Emulsions Play Pivotal Role in Shielding $2.4T US Roads

A Bergkamp machine applies micro surfacing consisting of polymer-modified asphalt emulsion, mineral aggregate, filler, water, and other additives on a prepared pavement surface.

AASHTO Taskforce Advances Emulsion Technology to Cut Costs and Boost Effectiveness of Multi-Billion Dollar Pavement Preservation Push

By Paul Fournier

A little known volunteer group of highway technology professionals are quietly transforming the language and mechanics related to asphalt emulsions, and in the process   revolutionizing the way that billions of dollars will be spent preserving the nation’s roadways.

The diverse collection of academics, engineers, contractors, producers and agency officials is known officially as AASHTO Pavement Preservation Emulsion Task Force (ETF for short). ETF has been working for the past five years to create a set of national standards, predicated on performance, for emulsion-based pavement preservation treatments. As part of this effort, ETF is advancing changes in asphalt emulsion technology and encouraging state Departments of Transportation and local agencies to incorporate these new developments into their pavement preservation programs.

Protecting $2.4 Trillion Investment

Emulsion-based surface treatments are employed for roadway preventive maintenance and are considered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as a major component of pavement preservation.  Some agencies use the terms pavement preservation and preventive maintenance interchangeably for these treatments, which include chip sealing, slurry seals, micro surfacing and fog seals, among others. The emulsion-based treatments are generally inexpensive when compared to traditional treatments using hot mix asphalt.       

Micro surfacing creates a stable surface resistant to rutting and shoving in summer and to cracking in winter, and is often used to restore a skid-resistant surface to slick bridge decking. 

The FHWA notes that out of an estimated 4.1 million miles of public roads in the U.S., about 2.8 million are paved – most with asphalt. About 1 million miles of these are owned and operated by the states, and 1.8 million miles are owned by local governments. Of the paved state roads, more than 90 percent are asphalt with the remainder divided between concrete pavement and composite pavement. All told, the nation’s roads are estimated to be worth more than $2.4 trillion, according to The Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA), a coalition of the Asphalt Institute, the National Asphalt Pavement Association, and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations. 

Preserving this immense roadway investment requires enormous financial expenditures. In 2014, a total of $165 billion was spent for national, state and local roads, bridges and tunnels, according to BidNet, a market research company based in New York.  As the elements take their toll on roadways and new highways are developed in states across the country, there will be a continual need for construction services to maintain new and existing infrastructure. And the company predicts that the federal government has strong incentives to spend billions of dollars on highway infrastructure.

Preservation Origins

At one time FHWA allowed little or no federal funds to be spent by the states on road maintenance, but that began to change in the early 2000s thanks in part to the work of the late Jim Sorenson, considered a pioneer in the development of pavement preservation systems. A senior construction and preservation engineer for FHWA’s Office of Asset Management, Sorenson spent much of his time as a strong advocate of pavement preservation, explaining these principles to various segments of the transportation construction industry. He partnered with state DOTs and worked closely with organizations that promoted the concepts of pavement preservation. Sorenson believed that the benefit-to-cost ratio for pavement preservation far exceeds that of reconstructing a road that has been allowed to deteriorate too long and he estimated that for every $1 invested in preservation, there is a $6 return in extended service life.

A Crafco SS125 is used to help seal pavement cracks, which is a preventive maintenance practice that extends pavement life and is considered a form of pavement preservation.

Today, FHWA points out that an effective pavement preservation program addresses pavements while they are still in good condition, before the onset of serious damage. By applying a cost-effective treatment at the right time, the agency believes pavement is restored almost to its original condition. The cumulative effect of aging, weather and abrasion is postponed, and the pavement can continue to provide a safe, smooth and cost-effective service to the taxpayer. This proactive and systematic preservation treatment postpones costly rehabilitation and reconstruction. For funding considerations, FHWA regards pavement preservation as having three components: preventive maintenance, minor rehabilitation (non-structural), and some routine maintenance activities. 

The Emulsion Advantage

While asphalt emulsions are the key ingredient of most pavement preservation treatments, they are relatively simple products created by combining asphalt, water, and a small amount of an emulsifying agent in a colloid mill that shears the asphalt into tiny droplets. The emulsifier, usually a surface-active agent such as ordinary soap, keeps the asphalt droplets in a stable brown suspension with a thin consistency, which can be used in cold processes for road construction and maintenance. Once the emulsion is applied in the field, the asphalt begins to stick to the surrounding aggregate or other surface, and the emulsion “breaks,” with its color changing from brown to black. As the water begins to evaporate, the emulsion begins to behave like pure asphalt binder, and is described as being set.

Asphalt emulsions do not require a petroleum solvent to make them liquid, and in most cases they can be used without additional heat. Both factors contribute to energy savings and a safer work environment. Furthermore, emulsions reduce asphalt viscosity, enabling lower temperature applications, and there are little or no hydrocarbon emissions created with their use. These features make asphalt emulsions ideal binders for pavement preservation treatments. This fact, coupled with a federal willingness to make funds available for preventive maintenance, has sparked a rising demand for the product. It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of all asphalt produced today is used in the form of asphalt emulsions.

A pair of Ingersoll Rand pneumatic rollers compacts a freshly chip sealed lane of highway as normal speed traffic continues in the travel lanes.

And this demand is likely to accelerate as America’s roadway infrastructure ages and deteriorates. One out of every 5 miles of highway pavement is in poor condition, and the nation’s roads have a significant and increasing backlog of rehabilitation needs, says the American Society of Civil Engineers in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card.

Loosening Strings But Not Entirely

Although the feds have been loosening the purse strings and providing more funds for pavement preservation, it took years of soul-searching on the part of FHWA to arrive at the point where significant sums were allocated for pavement preservation use. And there are serious strings still attached to the money. In 2004, pavement maintenance was made eligible for federal funding for the first time.  However, the DOTs were required to have pavement maintenance programs in place to obtain those funds. In 2009, more federal funds were authorized but state spending of this money had to be linked to highway asset performance.  So states would not only have to maintain their pavements but also show the resulting performance.  

“Therefore, the DOTs have to use pavement preservation measures as a way to reach performance goals in a cost-effective manner,” said Larry Galehouse, Director Emeritus of the National Center for Pavement Preservation (NCPP) based at Michigan State University. A professional engineer and licensed surveyor, Galehouse collaborated with Michigan State University and the Foundation for Pavement Preservation (FP2) to establish the NCPP in 2003. This was America’s first formal organization to offer a national focus on pavement preservation in collaboration with industry, government, and academia. NCPP works with them to advance and improve pavement preservation practices through education, training, research and outreach, and maintains a collection of preservation-related technical documents on its website. 

An Etnyre chip spreader broadcasts aggregate over a high-volume roadway in a typical application of emulsified asphalt chip seal to a prepared surface.

ETF Migrates to NCPP

Galehouse was director when NCPP assumed responsibility for asphalt emulsion-related research functions from an FHWA Emulsion Task Group that Jim Sorenson originated. 

As public agency demand for pavement preservation funds and information rose, AASHTO developed a state-funded Transportation Systems Preservation Technical Services (TSP·2) center to foster cooperation among private industry, academia, consultants, and federal and state agencies. The Center was based at NCPP. 

Founded in 1914, AASHTO is a non-profit, nonpartisan association representing member highway and transportation departments in the 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. AASHTO’s primary work is technical, which includes developing and maintaining voluntary standards and guidelines for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of transportation facilities. Its TSP·2 center disseminates information to AASHTO member agencies for preserving their highway infrastructure, and serves as a clearinghouse with the latest information on preservation measures. NCPP manages TSP·2’s website under contract with AASHTO. 

In 2015 the ETF moved under the umbrella of AASHTO’s TSP·2, and NCPP is now contracted to manage ETF as well.

Lack of Standards Hurts Progress

Galehouse said a major shortcoming of emulsion technology/treatments was the lack of formal national standards available in the AASHTO/ASTM format. 

“It is well known that for a technology to be widely accepted by state and local agencies, National Standards for that technology must be developed and made available,” he said.

Galehouse served as NCPP Director until he retired in 2017. He was succeeded by Dr. Judy Corley-Lay, who has a Ph.D. in Engineering and more than 40 years of experience and professional registration in civil engineering. 

An Etnyre distributor mounted on a Peterbilt truck applies a cationic rapid-setting, polymer modified (CRS-2P) asphalt emulsion as part of a chip seal operation.

Despite being officially retired, Galehouse manages TSP.2 and is a key participant in the activities of Messaging & Implementation (M&I), the largest of seven working subcommittees of the ETF. Other subcommittees are Residue Recovery and Testing, Spray and Mix Design Group, Supplier Certification and Quality Assurance, Recycling Emulsions, Rejuvenators, and Research. There is also a Special Working Group dedicated to developing performance grading for emulsion asphalt, similar to the PG of SUPERPAVE asphalt binder.

ETF Leaders Bring Diverse Perspectives

ETF is headed by Co-Chairs Colin Franco of the Rhode Island DOT, and Chris Lubbers of Kraton Polymers USA LLC. The Task Force consists of about 80 expert representatives from all stakeholders of asphalt emulsion technology. These volunteers hail from five states, three universities, seven producers, five industry associations, AASHTO, and FHWA, among other entities.

ETF Co-Chair Colin Franco, P.E., contributes a comprehensive state agency perspective to ETF proceedings based on his 36-year career with RIDOT. As the agency’s Associate Chief Engineer, he is in charge of RIDOT’s Materials and Quality Assurance operations. In commenting on the origin of ETF, Franco said there was a need for such an effort because there has not been enough support with regard to research, established literature and widespread agreement for asphalt emulsions compared to hot mix asphalt. To rectify this imbalance, ETF has been developing material specifications and construction guides for asphalt emulsion-based pavement preservation surface treatments.

Franco said that currently there are many different standards governing asphalt emulsions but they are not official national specifications and usually were written by material producers.  

“We need to get rid of this balkanization of standards. They have a built-in bias because they are for proprietary emulsions,” he said.   “We need one unified national set of standards. When you have national standards, you have an accumulation of best practices.” 

ETF Co-Chair Chris Lubbers, Technical Sales Manager for Kraton Polymers, provides industry perspective for the group. 

“The most important thing for us is that we are being funded by and for AASHTO, which provides a direct tie-in for industry to the state agencies,” Lubbers said.  He also explained that 

the various standard, practice, and guide documents that the ETF has developed and progressed through the AASHTO Committee on Materials & Pavements (COMP) will have additional legitimacy because they will be disseminated directly from AASHTO to the member state agencies.

Lubbers also said that national normalization offers AASHTO authentication, credibility, vetted quality, and improved performance of asphalt emulsion materials – similar to the features attributed to hot mix asphalt for many years. He added that these stakeholders will also profit by ETF deliverables that provide further support for state agencies to use asphalt emulsion-based surface treatments on higher traffic volume roads and highways.  At present, most state DOTs promote using these products primarily on low volume roads. Lubbers indicated the new AASHTO standards should inspire confidence in such materials on the part of specifiers as well as contractors and producers.

Deliverables Progress But Names Confuse

Making progress with deliverables, ETF recently completed materials specification and construction guides for owners or contractors on three of the most commonly used treatments – chip seals, micro surfacing, and fog seals. The specifications describe:

  • Emulsified asphalt chip seal as the application of emulsified asphalt, followed immediately by a single layer of aggregate chips to a prepared surface
  • Micro surfacing as the application of a mixture containing polymer modified emulsified asphalt, mineral aggregate, mineral filler, water, and other additives that are properly proportioned, mixed, and spread on a prepared pavement surface
  • Emulsified asphalt fog seal as the application of emulsified asphalt, either diluted or undiluted, to a prepared pavement surface that may be followed immediately by a light application of blotter sand. 

To illustrate the need for national standards and as an indication of the difficulty of achieving this, numerous terms have been used by agencies and contractors for chip seals, such as “seal coat,” “surface treatment,” “surface seal,” “surface dressing,” and “sprayed seal.”  A variety of labels are also used for other treatments as well. 

“The biggest challenge for the Task Force will be getting the DPW and DOT agencies to try the new specifications and construction guides we are developing,” said Larry Tomkins, P.E., Chairman of ETF’s M&I subcommittee, and Vice President, Sales and Marketing, for Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions Inc.

Getting Out the Word

Among M&I specific tasks is creating awareness of ETF’s activities to establish new emulsion standards. The subcommittee is also involved in the organization of training sessions on newly adopted ETF construction guides, and arranging pavement preservation demonstration projects using the new asphalt emulsion standards. 

“AASHTO sent out a survey a few years ago about formalizing and standardizing specifications for using chip sealing and micro surfacing,” Tomkins said. “About half of the agencies that responded said they were not interested; some didn’t even know about existing specifications; and a number were comfortable with what they’ve been using. Some of them have been using these treatments for 20 or 30 years or so, and are happy with the way they’re doing it. Other agencies may not be using these treatments at all and are not even interested in using them.

“And there are others who may be using some of the treatments without any formal specifications at all.

“So we have to deal with many agencies who may have very different experiences with these treatments or no experiences at all. To be successful at this, we have to educate them, explain how it will be beneficial for them to try the new specs, and what other agencies have used the specs successfully. “We have to do a lot of outreach and develop effective messaging, for this to work,” he said.

This feature appeared in the April 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

The Road to Maximum Efficiency

Morgan Pavement Finds a Custom Solution to Increase Productivity

By Scott Knighton

There aren’t enough hours in a day. Every sealcoat operator, manager, and company president has found themselves thinking this at one point or another. Even without unexpected equipment breakdowns, weather delays or staffing shortfalls, there are plenty of small things that eat away at productivity, leaving crews wishing for just a little more time. 

Even in Utah, which averages more than 14 hours of daylight in summer, asphalt maintenance contractors push their productivity to the max, making every hour in their 12-hour workdays count. For some, this comes at the cost of overall quality. Others, like Morgan Pavement – a full-service asphalt contractor providing earthwork, asphalt paving and asphalt maintenance services – find strict quality control and a proactive approach to tools and products that increase productivity key to optimized efficiency.  

From humble beginnings in 1983 as a Utah-based striping outfit to today’s multi-million-dollar company serving communities in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Texas, quality control has set Morgan Pavement apart. It was the driving factor in the company’s expansion into earthmoving, paving, and eventually manufacturing its own sealcoat and slurry seal oils to provide the quality solutions for customers from start to finish. That commitment to the best quality for its customers is the core value that keeps employees like Dean Garrett, President and CEO, clocking in year after year, decade after decade. Morgan Pavement has never shied away from investing in the tools, resources, infrastructure, and employees to ensure its customers receive solutions that are completed quicker and last longer.

With clogs causing productivity problems, Morgan Pavement approached Neal Manufacturing for a custom solution pump and spray system for their high-volume truck

The focus on quality makes Morgan Pavement quick to embrace new technology when it benefits its customers. So, when a new product, Onyx, hit the market in 2012, the company quickly realized the frictional mastic surface treatment’s potential. In terms of quality, it offered customers more friction, durability, and longevity than any other spray applied mastic on the market. Onyx’s proven performance gave Morgan Pavement confidence to expand its application services into roadways knowing it could deliver on its commitment to quality.

The only problem was, its current sealcoating equipment hadn’t caught up with Onyx’s unique properties, resulting in frequent clogs and slowing productivity – putting Morgan Pavement’s reputation and overall efficiency on the line. 

Black Gold

Just what was it about Onyx that convinced Morgan Pavement to risk its 35-year reputation on a product that – temporarily – decreased productivity? Simple, Onyx’s unique ability to load significantly more aggregate than conventional materials. The larger, harder aggregate also improves micro texture on the pavement surface for enhanced friction. 

“Although Onyx is a spray seal – it has significantly higher loadings of unique polymers and catalysts that deliver the long-term performances a customer demands on parking lot roads,” said Garrett. “We want the best for our customers. With Onyx, they’re getting the best ­– durability, permeability, friction, and dark black color – with the ease of installation of a spray seal.”

But it was more than the friction coefficient that convinced Morgan Pavement this was the quality solution its customers deserved. Onyx is specially engineered to provide shortened dry times and extended long-term performance, increasing efficiency, durability and longevity. As a consistently black sealer, Onyx also reduces ultraviolet damage and increases striping contrast for added safety and aesthetics. 

Ingevity, the owner of the Onyx formula, sourced the product through Morgan Pavement’s manufacturing affiliate, NuRock Asphalt Coatings. This allowed NuRock to manufacture a high-quality road and parking lot sealer for its customers’ needs. 

Morgan Pavement recognized the potential of the optional AutoTrim attachment on Neal Manufacturing’s DA-350 to revolutionize cutting in from a time-consuming, labor-intensive chore to a quick, efficient process that would allow the completion of edge work in less than half the time.

However, as part of the partnership, Morgan Pavement was tasked with perfecting the application of Onyx. The mixture’s thixotropic nature and high aggregate load made application a challenge for its current sealcoating equipment. 

“Onyx has an extreme load of polymer and aggregate, making it more difficult to pump with standard spray seal equipment,” Garrett said. “The machines we were using worked well with conventional sealcoats, but with the new aggregate intensive compound, productivity was suffering.” 

Despite 12-hour days and six-day work weeks, Morgan Pavement saw limited productivity with Onyx application due to frequent malfunctions. Clogs developed in the filtration system of their tank truck, causing the seven-person crew to stop what they were doing, clear the clog, and go back and manually apply the product to cover gaps, a process that increased unscheduled downtime and cost money.

“You can imagine you’re clipping down the road at 6 miles an hour and all of a sudden you have a clog for 20 feet,” Garrett said. “That was happening several times an hour. It was very frustrating for the crews and for our customers.”  

Morgan Pavement knew it had the best product with Onyx, but they needed to do something to decrease the downtime brought on by the equipment mismatch. 

In terms of productivity, Neal Manufacturing’s DA-350 has revolutionized Morgan Pavement’s edge work, reducing a seven-person to crew to just one on a DA-350.

The Solution

With only two or three contractors using Onyx in Utah and less than 20 nationwide, mass-market solutions were unavailable. So, Morgan Pavement turned to a trusted name for a custom solution to their Onyx problem – Neal Manufacturing, a Division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC. 

Neal Manufacturing and their parent company Blastcrete Equipment were well known to Morgan Pavement. In 35 years, the sealcoat applicator had found success with a number of Neal Manufacturing machines and appreciated the customer-focused approach and dedication to quality that mirrored its own core values. It had found industry-innovating machines often carried the Neal Manufacturing logo, as well. But it was the OEM’s experience with custom engineering that sealed the deal. 

“They’re open-minded and easy to work with, so when we need a solution, Neal Manufacturing is the first name on the list,” Garrett said. “Not to mention, when it comes to pumps, few understand different consistencies and how to effectively pump sealcoat better than Blastcrete.”

With the DA-350 and spray truck modifications from Neal Manufacturing, Morgan Pavement was able to increase productivity more than 53 percent a day, applying up to 130,000 square feet (260,000 with double application).

Morgan Pavement presented their Onyx spray problem to Neal Manufacturing and within two months, their team had engineered a pump and spray system that virtually eliminated the clogging issues that were costing Morgan valuable daylight. 

With the retrofit, productivity increased immediately. “Before we struggled with multiple clogs an hour, now it was more like one a day,” Garrett said. “Reducing clogs added 10 percent, or an extra hour and a half to our day. The retrofit also reduced cleaning time at the end of the day by 80 percent and saved 90 percent of the material we were wasting during clean up.” 

In that usable time, crews were able to increase application by 28 percent. Heightened productivity also meant jobs progressed quickly and efficiently, improving crew satisfaction and delighting customers in a job done to Morgan Pavement’s high-quality standards. 

Morgan Pavement was back on the road to maximum productivity. But the collaboration with Neal Manufacturing and the success of the refurbished system encouraged management to examine other areas where they could increase productivity. 

Cutting-in edges had always been a time-consuming and efficiency-draining task. The tedious, manual process was always the limiting factor for efficiency on their sealcoating jobs. On roadways and city streets, edge work required a crew of seven and a significant amount of the time budgeted for each contract. While the main truck drove down the center of the street, two hose crews would cut in on either side – one person operating the hand wand and spraying the sealcoat, one protecting the curb and gutter with a guard, and one progressing the hose. On parking lot jobs, the process was slightly more efficient, but only because a single-hose crew was needed and there was less cutting in to do in general. Even with the improved pump and reduced clogs, cutting-in cut into their profits and limited their productivity on roadway jobs. 

It wasn’t as if they were the only applicators battling the drain on efficiency caused by edge work. Industry-wide, the process is a time- and labor-intensive burden, especially for companies with high-quality standards. Sloppy edge work, such as not getting close enough to the gutter or spraying material on the curb, will cause unplanned clean up and dissatisfied customers. As part of its dedication to providing the best solutions for customers, solutions their competitors couldn’t, Morgan Pavement wanted to find a way to do high-quality work faster. 

Working with Neal Manufacturing proved there were OEMs in the industry that would listen to their concerns and help them improve their business. Luckily for Morgan Pavement, since they weren’t the only applicator struggling with cutting in edges, the Neal Team was already a step ahead with the revolutionary DA-350.

All-In-One for Optimum Efficiency

The three-wheeled, self-propelled DA-350, a drivable, dual application sealer buggy, holds up to 350 gallons of material. Operators can choose between the 8-foot Even Flow diamond squeegee assembly with hydraulic windrow or 87-inch, six-nozzle spray bar with electronic actuator for an ideal application on a variety of jobs. The machine incorporates the HDP hydraulic piston pump capable of processing high sand loads for specialty sealants like Onyx. The HDP piston pump can also be used to transfer materials up to 100 GPM.

But the feature that really piqued Morgan Pavement’s interest was the DA-350’s optional AutoTrim, a baffle attachment for automatically cutting-in sealcoat materials while keeping curbs and edges clean. Morgan Pavement recognized the potential to revolutionize cutting-in from a time-consuming, labor-intensive chore to a quick, efficient process that could be completed expertly from the comfort of the DA-350’s driver seat, allowing completion of edge work in less than half the time. 

After seeing the machine at the National Pavement Expo, Morgan Pavement quickly recognized the impact the unit could have on productivity and immediately bought one. Soon after using the new unit, Garrett said they ordered another. 

“In terms of productivity, the DA-350 is revolutionary,” Garrett said. “For us, it took a crew of seven and reduced it down to one man on a DA-350 to do the edge work. Those other crew members can be employed in other areas to get the job done faster – directing traffic, operating other machinery and cleaning up a jobsite. Overall, we’ve been able to significantly increase productivity while decreasing crew size to just five.”

Now, the DA-350 sets Morgan Pavement’s pace. It precedes the main spraying truck, with the driver doing all the edge work on one road before moving on to the next. The machine’s ability to cut a radius while keeping a tight edge with the curb and gutter allows the driver to continue uninterrupted until it’s time to refill the tank. The rest of the crew follows behind, applying Onyx to the center of the road. 

Nowhere has Morgan Pavement seen the benefits of the DA-350 more than in their work with one of Utah’s largest cities. This picturesque suburb of Salt Lake City hosted several events during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. For the past three years, Morgan Pavement contracted with the municipality to seal an increasing portion of city streets with Onyx. 

Like many municipalities in Utah, the city requested a frictional mastic surface treatment – the generic name for Onyx – and they have come to expect exemplarily service from local providers, Morgan Pavement and NuRock Asphalt Coatings. 

In 2017, the first year of their partnership, Morgan Pavement sprayed Onyx on over 1 million square feet of roadway to gauge the performance of the sealcoat. The project lasted over two weeks with crews applying an average of 85,000 square feet a day – 170,000 square feet when factoring in Onyx’s double coat application. A year later, with the DA-350 and spray truck modifications, they were able to increase productivity more than 53 percent a day, applying up to 130,000 square feet (260,000 with double application). In just 11 days, they completed the 1.5 million square feet of roadway and were on to the next job. With the DA-350, Morgan Pavement has seen a significant increase in the number of jobs they can complete in a season as well as an overall increase in their bottom line with smaller crews, more productivity and quicker turnaround.

Industry-wide, the edge work is a time- and labor-intensive burden, but with the DA 350, Morgan Pavement was able to efficiently complete high-quality edge work. 

The Willingness to Embrace Change

At 35, Morgan Pavement is still in growth mode. The company’s willingness to embrace productivity-enhancing techniques and keen eye for quality continues to win them customers and bids across the western part of the United States. 

With Neal Manufacturing’s custom retrofit of their truck system and the addition of two DA-350 units to their fleet, Morgan Pavement realized exceptional productivity without sacrificing its customer commitment and high standards of quality. In the fall, Neal Manufacturing will retrofit three more truck system units, allowing the company to meet the rising demand for Onyx and propelling them toward even greater productivity.

Morgan Pavement still wishes for more hours in a day, but with the DA-350 and custom solutions from Neal Manufacturing, they are able to make each hour of daylight count over 50 percent more than before – all 14 of them.

This feature appeared in the March 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Asphalt Pavements: Tracking America’s Most Recycled Material

All U.S. Asphalt Mix Producers and In-Place Recyclers Encouraged
to Participate in Annual Industry Survey by April 1

Each year, the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) surveys the industry to document the volume of recycled materials used in new roads. Since 2009, this survey has confirmed that asphalt pavement mixtures are the most recycled material in the United States. Every year, nearly 100 percent of the material removed from old roads and parking lots is reclaimed for use in new pavements.

To quantify the amount of recycled material used during the 2019 construction season, NAPA is encouraging every asphalt mix producer in the United States to participate in its latest survey on the use of recycled materials and warm-mix asphalt. This confidential survey is conducted by NAPA under a contract with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Responses are sought from producers of all sizes and from every community in all 50 U.S. states, as well as all U.S. territories. Additional information is also being sought about the use of in-place recycling technologies during 2019.

“In 2018, data from more than 1,300 asphalt plants were included in the survey, ensuring a high level of reliability for its findings. Greater industry participation in the survey helps ensure the industry’s environmental impacts are properly understood by federal and state agencies, as well as the public,” stated Brett Williams, NAPA Director of Engineering and Technical Support, who is administering the survey. “It is thanks to companies’ willingness to participate in the survey that we can prove the inherent sustainability of asphalt pavements, as well as encourage greater use of reclaimed asphalt in new pavements.”

NAPA and FHWA have tracked usage of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), recycled asphalt shingles (RAS), and warm-mix asphalt (WMA) annually since the 2009 construction season. The survey has been cited more than 350 times in academic literature, and is used by FHWA, the Department of Energy, and other public agencies to measure the impact of these technologies.

The results from the 2018 construction season were released in September 2019, showing that more than 84.7 million tons of recycled material was used in asphalt pavement mixtures during 2018. This includes RAP and RAS, as well as other reclaimed and recycled materials, such as ground tire rubber, steel and blast furnace slags, coal combustion products, and cellulose fibers.

In addition, about 79.5 million tons — more than 20 percent of total asphalt pavement mixture produced in 2018 — used WMA technologies to reduce mix-production temperatures. The full results of the 2018 survey are available at www.AsphaltPavement.org/recycling.

All asphalt mix producers operating in the United States and in U.S. territories are encouraged to participate in the confidential 2019 construction season survey by April 1. To participate, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019_RMWMA_Survey.

For the 2019 construction season, FHWA asked NAPA to expand the survey collection effort to include in-place recycling techniques, including cold-in-place, hot-in-place, cold central plant recycling, and full-depth reclamation. Companies using these technologies are also encouraged to participate in a short supplementary survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019_IPR_Survey.

Data from the surveys are kept completely confidential and are only reported in aggregate and used to determine quantities. State-level data are reported only if three or more companies from the state or territory participate. No company-specific information is disclosed or used for any purpose.

About The National Asphalt Pavement Association

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) is the only trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the asphalt producer/contractor on the national level with Congress, government agencies, and other national trade and business organizations. NAPA supports an active research program designed to improve the quality of asphalt pavements and paving techniques used in the construction of roads, streets, highways, parking lots, airports, and environmental and recreational facilities. The association provides technical, educational, and marketing materials and information to its members; supplies product information to users and specifiers of paving materials; and conducts training courses. The association, which counts more than 1,100 companies as members, was founded in 1955.