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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / May 2003

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-017
Date: May 2003

New FWD Calibration Center Opens in Colorado

A new Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) Calibration Center will debut this month in Denver, Colorado. Hosted by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the new center replaces the previous Reno, Nevada, facility and will serve the Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) Program's Western Region.

FWDs impart a stationary dynamic load to a pavement structure, approximating a moving wheel load. The equipment can either be self-contained in one vehicle or mounted on a trailer. Examples of the FWD's many applications include measuring the structural capacity of a pavement, back-calculating pavement layer moduli, predicting the remaining life of a pavement, determining joint load-transfer efficiency in portland cement concrete pavements, and performing network level pavement management. FWD calibration benchmarks an FWD unit to known, or reference, standards, helping to ensure consistent, accurate data.

Three other FWD Calibration Centers can be found across the country. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's center in Harrisburg serves the North Atlantic Region, while the Minnesota Department of Transportation's center in Maplewood hosts the North Central Region. The Southern Region is served by the Texas Department of Transportation's center at the Texas Transportation Institute in College Station.

The LTPP Calibration Centers are jointly supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the host State highway agencies. FHWA provides the equipment, procedures and protocols, and technical support, while the States supply the facilities and staff. "The FWD Calibration Centers provide a vital service to the transportation community by ensuring that FWD owners and operators have a place to keep their equipment properly calibrated. Calibration on a regular basis gives the FWD owners and operators the best possible assurance that they are collecting reliable data," says Eric Weaver of FHWA. Collecting and providing such reliable, high-quality data is a prime objective of the LTPP program.

For more information on the FWD Calibration Centers, contact Eric Weaver at FHWA, 202-493-3153 (email: eric.weaver@fhwa.dot.gov). To schedule an FWD calibration, see below.

FWD Calibration Center Contacts

North Atlantic Region

Tom Leitzel, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT)

717-783-6857 (fax: 717-787-6013; email: tleitzel@state.pa.us)

Dave Wassel, PENNDOT: 717-783-4824 (fax: 717-787-6013; email: dwassel@state.pa.us)

North Central Region

Dave Bullock, Minnesota Department of Transportation

651-779-5542 (fax: 651-779-5616; email: dave.bullock@dot.state.mn.us)

Southern Region

Doug Chalman, Texas Department of Transportation (General Information)

512-465-7653 (fax: 512-465-3681; email: dchalman@dot.state.tx.us)

John Ragsdale, Texas Transportation Institute (Scheduling): 979-845-9921 (email: j-ragsdale@tamu.edu)

Western Region

Dan Falls, Colorado Department of Transportation

303-757-9258 (fax: 303-757-9008; email: dan.falls@dot.state.co.us)

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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