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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-00-059
Date: June 2000
With research projects investigating everything from building pavements that can better stand up to heavy traffic loads to making more cost-effective design choices, the Concrete Pavement Technology Program is changing the face of concrete pavement design and construction.
A new FHWA Web site on subsurface utility engineering (SUE) provides a basic introduction to how this process can help engineers obtain reliable information on underground utility locations when designing roads. The site includes information on how SUE works, the benefits of using the process, and how to select a SUE provider. The site also includes case studies on States that have successfully used SUE in their highway planning. To visit the Web site, go to www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/progradmin/sueindex.htm.
Since the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) program began more than a decade ago, it has sponsored research projects on critical issues ranging from the validation of pavement design procedures to pothole repair techniques. The results of this research, and its potential to improve future pavement technology, are covered in a new LTPP report, Key Findings from LTPP Analysis 1990-1999 (Publication No. FHWA-RD-00-085).
For highway agencies, times are changing. "It's no longer about constructing roads," says Jim Sorenson of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). "It's about preserving and maintaining the existing roads." And for an increasing number of States, preserving those roads means using preventive maintenance techniques. Instead of waiting until a road has significantly deteriorated before rehabilitating it, preventive maintenance involves applying carefully timed, cost-effective treatments to roads experiencing only light to moderate distress. These treatments help retard pavement deterioration, improve the function/condition of the highway system, and can extend the life of a structurally sound pavement by 5 to 10 years.
At the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) Specific Pavements Studies (SPS) Workshop, held April 27-28 in Newport, Rhode Island, nearly 150 participants gathered to discuss the status of the SPS-1, -2, -5, and -6 experiments. These experiments were designed to learn how climate and cumulative traffic loading affect pavements of different compositions and layer thicknesses. The data from the projects, said Aramis Lopez of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will help form "LTPP's lasting legacy," while contributing to "the best pavement database ever assembled."
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