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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Contact: Karen Whitney
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 35-01

FHWA Pavement Performance Research Saves $50 Million Annually in Highway Construction Costs

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced that a software tool developed under its Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) research initiative yielded savings of at least $50 million last year in state highway construction costs.

"LTPP research is significantly advancing the pavement engineering process nationwide," FHWA Administrator Mary Peters said. "The better the process, the better the product. That's why the LTPP investment is so essential - it yields the kind of substantive, long-lasting improvements the public expects for its transportation dollars."

Engineers are using a software tool, known as LTPPBind, to more accurately determine the asphalt binder (cement) grade needed for their specific environmental conditions. A national review of LTPPBind shows it helps highway agencies save at least $50 million in construction costs each year by reducing the need to apply modified binders, a factor that can drive up the costs of construction.

The LTPP program involves collecting and analyzing data that accurately describes how and why pavements perform as they do. It is resulting in a number of nationwide improvements to pavement design, performance and life-cycle costs. LTPP results are being used to improve pothole patching, pavement evaluation, and other aspects of highway pavement design, construction and maintenance.

One example of the role of LTPP is its impact on what has been dubbed the "2002 Design Guide." The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) is developing the guide, which is a complete replacement for the current "how to" book on designing pavements. Developers of the 2002 design guide have estimated that the new procedures, validated and calibrated with LTPP data, could result in pavement rehabilitation savings of $1 billion per year.

The LTPP program has also produced a number of other products and processes that will save potentially millions more for U.S. highway agencies and help improve highway condition and performance.

Another LTPP software tool is helping highway engineers effectively implement new guidelines for the design of Portland cement concrete pavements. Effective implementation of the new guidelines is expected to reduce the life-cycle costs of concrete pavements by 30 percent compared to current procedures, translating into potential savings of $52 million annually for highway agencies.

The total national investment in LTPP to date is about $187 million including nearly $14 million funded by the NCHRP. An additional $36 million was awarded in June for four new regional LTPP data collection projects to contractors located in Texas, Nevada, Illinois and New York. In addition, participating states and Canadian provinces have invested about $50 million in the overall effort.

The LTPP is a 20-year pavement research initiative to increase the longevity of roads and maximize benefits from the dollars spent on the nation's highways through the development of improved pavement technology.

The Federal Highway Administration manages the LTPP program, which was initiated in 1987 as a comprehensive 20-year study of highway pavements. The goal is to provide national data, information and products that extend highway pavement life at a reasonable cost.

Additional information on the positive impact of the LTPP program is available in the new brochure, "An Investment Benefiting America's Highways: The Long Term Pavement Performance Program." The brochure is available online at http://www.tfhrc.gov/pavement/ltpp/brochure.htm.


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