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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > January 1998 >The Superpave System: Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
January 1998Publication Number: FHWA-SA-98-018

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The Superpave System: Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

The Superpave system promises longer-life asphalt pavements, but to fully collect on that promise, highway agencies and contractors will have to implement all the components of the system, says a joint statement from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Associated General Contractors (AGC), and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

The statement was developed by the Executive Committee of the AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Joint Committee and recently approved by the governing bodies of the three organizations. The statement reads, in part:

The Superpave system provides the highway agency and the construction contractor the information needed to knowledgeably select materials and control construction to help ensure a durable, reliable finished product. While application of individual components will probably yield performance gains, only uniform application of the entire system will guarantee reliable performance. This revolutionary shift in the way most agencies and contractors construct asphalt pavements requires cooperation in the adoption and implementation of the Superpave system. [Emphasis added.]

The AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Joint Committee recommends that state transportation agencies and the industry join as full partners in implementing the application of the Superpave system wherever deemed appropriate to provide the American public with the finest, most cost effective pavements in the world.

"The statement is right on target," says Paul Mack of the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) and head of the Superpave Lead States team. Mack believes that it is essential that States adopt the full Superpave system. "The benefits extend beyond longer pavement life. Adopting a mix design system-the Superpave system-that can be universally applied and supported also means that AASHTO members can pool our resources to further refine the system and conduct other research, and the results can immediately be put to use by the States."

AASHTO Passes Resolution on Uniform Application of Superpave System

At the annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in Salt Lake City in November, the AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways reaffirmed its support for the uniform application of the Superpave specifications. In a resolution titled "Uniform Implementation of SHRP Superpave," the committee urged "all AASHTO members, when implementing SHRP Superpave technology, not to substantially modify applicable prescribed standards, requirements, or methodologies as adopted in the AASHTO Standard (and Provisional) Specifications for Transportation Materials and Methods of Sampling and Testing.

The resolution further urges that "AASHTO members who find it necessary to modify the prescribed SHRP® standards, requirements, or methodologies for the Superpave® technology beyond what has been adopted in the aforementioned the AASHTO Standard (and Provisional) Specifications for Transportation Materials and Methods of Sampling and Testing to avoid referring to asphalt pavements so constructed as utilizing the SHRP Superpave technology."

For a copy of the resolution, contact Haleem Tahir at AASHTO (telephone: 301-975-5275; fax: 301-330-1956; email: haleem.tahir@nist.gov).

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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