- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
|Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations|
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-01-068
Date: October 2001
You've chosen an asphalt mix design and you're ready to pave. But how will the mix perform under the traffic and climate conditions at the pavement site? According to a canvass of State highway agencies conducted earlier this year by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 29 agencies now use some sort of a test prior to paving to indicate how their mix design will hold up. Of those highway agencies not currently conducting tests, 13 are gathering information and considering implementing a test. Research is being conducted nationally to develop a simple performance test to be used with the Superpave volumetric mix design procedures as a way of addressing States' need for a test tied to field performance (see sidebar).
Hundreds of thousands of people visit Denali National Park in Alaska each year. Using new data collection tools, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Western Federal Lands office is testing methods to help the National Park Service (NPS) more accurately count and classify visitor's vehicles, as well as determine when it is safe to open roads to traffic in the spring. With this data, the NPS can then make better planning decisions.
The Federal Lands Highway Program comprises more than 8,000 miles of National Park roads, nearly 30,000 miles of forest highway roads, and roadways serving over 500 Wildlife Refuges. Charged with the mission of continually improving transportation access to and within Federal and Indian lands, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Federal Lands Highway Core Business Unit is responsible for providing the best transportation system possible that balances sound engineering principles and the protection of Federal and Indian lands. The Federal Lands Highway Program (FLHP) provides funding for a coordinated program of public roads and transit facilities that play numerous vital roles, including sustaining recreational travel and tourism, providing safe and access and mobility while protecting vital ecosystems, providing economic development in rural areas, and supplying needed transportation access for Native Americans.
For the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Central Federal Lands office, cold in-place recycling (CIR) of asphalt pavements has proven to be a viable method of rehabilitating roads that both minimizes user delay and is more environmentally sustainable. In June 2001, a group of engineers from the North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) and FHWA visited a CIR project in the Badlands National Park in South Dakota to learn more about the methods Central Federal Lands uses to select, design, and construct CIR projects. The site visit was designed to help the North Dakota DOT engineers determine if CIR could be a cost-effective method of rehabilitating some of North Dakota's low volume roads.
A number of calamities can cause damage to steel bridges, including vehicle impact, earthquake, and fire. While the procedure of heat-straightening has been used sporadically over the past 50 years as a way of correcting this damage, the technique had never been well-documented. To provide guidance to State highway agencies and contractors, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a two CD-ROM set, Heat-Straightening Repair for Damaged Steel Bridges: An Interactive Guide, in 2000 and will be offering specialized training through a series of 2-day seminars. FHWA has also published a manual, Heat-Straightening Repairs of Damaged Steel Bridges: A Technical Guide and Manual of Practice.
Smoother pavements mean more satisfied customers. As noted in the recent Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) survey, Moving Ahead: The American Public Speaks on Roadways and Transportation in Communities, improvements in pavement conditions are one of the factors that may result in the greatest rise in traveler satisfaction. To better measure the smoothness of roads after paving, while allowing traffic to flow unimpeded, FHWA's Federal Lands Highway offices are using a new device known as ROSAN (ROad Surface ANalyzer).