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Application Notes: New Software Tool Paves the Way for More Cost-Effective, Durable Roads in Kansas

Primary Topic: Pavement Maintenance

Description: With its hot summers and long, bitterly cold winters, the climate in Kansas is hard on asphalt pavements. During the winter, when pavement temperatures plunge to as low as -30°C (-22°F), the asphalt concrete becomes brittle, causing the pavement to crack. During the summer, pavement temperatures can soar to as high as 65°C (149°F), causing the asphalt concrete to become soft and malleable. Vehicles can then cause depressions in the wheelpath, known as ruts.

Seeking a cure for rutting and low-temperature cracking, several years ago the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) turned to the Superpave performance grade (PG) asphalt binder specification developed under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP). The Superpave binder specifications are based on the lowest and highest pavement temperatures at a site. However, SHRP specifications used the lowest air temperature as a surrogate for the lowest pavement temperature. As more information and data have become available over the past several years, the original Superpave binder specifications proved to be more restrictive than may have been needed.

FHWA Publication Number: FHWA-RD-00-019

Publication Year: 2000

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