- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
|Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations|
Publication Number: FHWA-SA-97-021
Date: March 1997
Highway agencies in the United States spend $6.5 billion a year on portland cement concrete bridges, pavements, and structures. Much of that money is spent repairing or replacing bridges and pavements damaged by salt, freezing weather, and other causes. New technologies developed and evaluated by the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) can provide highway agencies with better ways to build, maintain, and repair concrete bridges and pavements and make that money go much further, according to the findings of the SHRP assessment project.
Was the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) a wise investment? Are SHRP-originated products providing real benefits to highway agencies? These questions were posed 2 years ago by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) SHRP Committee, which provides the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) with advice and recommendations on SHRP implementation activities.
Motorists rank pavement conditions as the top priority improvement needed on the Nation's highway system, according to a recent survey. They're tired of rough roads, damaged suspensions and tires, and maintenance-caused traffic delays. Highway agencies, meanwhile, are spending one-fourth of their budgets on pavement maintenance and repairs. The Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) assessment project found that SHRP's guidelines on materials and methods for repairing and maintaining asphalt and portland cement concrete pavements can help highway agencies provide better pavement conditions and make the most of their maintenance budgets.
More than 100 case studies on how SHRP products are being used by State and local highway agencies have already been collected.
Nearly two-thirds of States have adopted or are in the process of adopting the Superpave binder specification, which is the first step in implementing the Superpave system. Many States are already planning to take the next step - namely, implementation of the Superpave volumetric mix design procedures by 2000, in line with the target date set by the Asphalt Technical Working Group. These States are making the right choice, according to the findings of the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) assessment project. By producing longer-lasting pavements, the Superpave system can stretch highway dollars and save motorists time and money.
Conventional winter maintenance strategies involve waiting for the snow to start falling and then deploying plows and salt trucks to clear the pavement of snow and ice. These strategies produce safe travel conditions, but give the storm the upper hand.
Temporary work zones are hazardous for motorists and workers. The short duration of most maintenance and repair jobs, such as pothole patching, makes it impractical to install concrete barricades or other formidable types of protection. As a result, the crew often works just a few short steps away from passing vehicles, with scant protection. The sometimes confusing nature of work zones increases the risk of accidents; drivers are suddenly faced with closed or shifting traffic lanes, backed-up traffic, or other exceptions to normal travel conditions.