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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > September 2007 > A New Look at Pavement Warranties
September 2007Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-07-017

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A New Look at Pavement Warranties

Is your agency looking to learn more about implementing or expanding the use of pavement warranties? A new 1-day workshop offered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), "Basic Warranties," provides an introduction to pavement warranty best practices used both across the country and internationally. Also highlighted are research news and input from industry.

While pavement warranties were first used in the United States in the late 1800s, companies stopped offering them as competition increased. When Interstate construction began in the 1950s, warranties were not allowed, leading to only limited warranty use by State and local agencies over the next 40 years. Federal regulations were revised in 1994 to permit the use of warranties as a means of improving the long-term quality of roadways. Since then, 33 States have used different types of warranties, with some States adopting legislative mandates that require their use.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has used warranties on both asphalt and concrete pavements, with the goal of encouraging contractor innovation and obtaining high quality projects. Indiana found that the performance of hot-mix asphalt short-term warranty projects exceeded that of equivalent non-warranty projects when evaluating pavement smoothness and rutting. Wisconsin is another State that has reported success with short-term warranties, which it has used on all types of roadways, including for entire pavement replacements. Some States, meanwhile, have not achieved the desired results in using warranties and are reevaluating their programs.

"FHWA's new workshop was developed in response to several State requests for more information on warranties," says Lee Gallivan of FHWA's Office of Pavement Technology. "The workshop will be useful for State agencies that want to introduce, expand, or update their warranty programs, including those that have had problems implementing warranties in the past." States currently looking at scheduling the workshop include Tennessee.

Photo. Highway work zone. A work zone is set up in two lanes on the right-hand side of a highway, with traffic traveling in two lanes on the left-hand side. Orange cones separate the left-hand lanes from the work zone.
FHWA's new "Basic Warranties" workshop provides an introduction to pavement warranty best practices.

The workshop features background information on the history of warranties and the different types of warranties that can be implemented, including materials and workmanship and performance. Additional topics include the components of warranty specifications, elements needed to get started with a warranty program, quality control programs, and warranty verification and acceptance.

FHWA has also developed three guidance documents on warranties:

  • Background for Pavement Warranties.
  • Selection Procedures for Pavement Warranties.
  • Management of Pavement Warranties.

The guidance documents are available online at www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/warranty. FHWA has set up a Warranty Team as well that can provide technical assistance in developing warranty programs. For more information on warranties or to schedule the warranty workshop in your State, contact team members Lee Gallivan in FHWA's Office of Pavement Technology, 317-226-7493 (email: victor.gallivan@fhwa.dot.gov), or Dennis Dvorak at the FHWA Resource Center, 708-283-3542 (email: dennis.dvorak@fhwa.dot.gov).

"The workshop will be useful for State agencies that want to introduce, expand, or update their warranty programs, including those that have had problems implementing warranties in the past."

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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