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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / May 1998

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-SA-98-022
Date: May 1998

Lead States Hold "How To" Demonstrations on Innovative Pavement Maintenance Materials

demonstration photo.

Demonstrations at the Lead States team's workshop in Wyoming showed that the spray-injection pothole patcher works well even on wet pavements.

As you gain experience with a new technology, you learn how to customize or tweak it. "It's like mom's chocolate cake. She knew, from experience, to add a little salt to the original recipe," says Lee Smithson of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), head of the Lead States team for innovative pavement maintenance materials. To share what they've learned from experience, the members of the Lead States team-Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, and Pennsylvania-are holding 1-day field demonstrations on innovative techniques for repairing common problems in asphalt and portland cement concrete pavements. The techniques had been evaluated under the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP).

The first field demonstration was held in April in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and was organized and presented by Ahmad Ardani of Colorado DOT. Ardani had intended to draw several dozen maintenance engineers, garage supervisors, and others from highway agencies in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska, but as word of the demonstration spread, more and more people asked if they could attend. At one point, Ardani expected as many as 100 people from 7 States and 11 cities and counties. In the end, only one-third as many people were able to attend, as the others were unexpectedly engaged in cleaning up after a snowstorm that hit the area.

Ardani began the field demonstration with a description of the Lead States program and a presentation on what SHRP and other research programs have learned about joint seals in concrete pavements. He demonstrated how to use the Georgia digital faultmeter, which measures the difference in elevation across a joint, and the Iowa vacuum tester, which detects leaks in joint seals. He then turned the event over to two vendors, who demonstrated their spray-injection equipment for patching potholes.

Wyoming DOT's Dick Stapp says he found the demonstrations of the pothole patching equipment to be the most useful part of the program. "The pavement was wet from the snow. These are the very worst conditions you can have for pothole patching, but the patchers worked well," he says. "The demonstration and the positive feedback from my staff was enough for me to decide I'm going to do what I can to get one."

The Lead States team is already planning the next field demonstration, which will be held in South Dakota; State and local highway agency staff from Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, and North and South Dakota will be invited to attend.

The field demonstrations were developed in response to the findings of the Lead States team's survey (see August 1997 Focus), which identified States that wanted help in implementing the SHRP technologies. The field demonstrations are intended for maintenance engineers, garage supervisors, and other staff members from State and local highway agencies. Because agency staff members have a hard time getting permission for out-of-State travel, the field demonstrations are held along State borders; those participants who need to arrive the night before, because of long travel distances, can stay in a hotel within their home State. Cheyenne, for example, was picked as the site of the first demonstration because of its location close to the Colorado and Nebraska borders.

For more information on the field demonstrations or the Lead States team for innovative pavement maintenance materials, contact Lee Smithson, Iowa DOT (phone: 515-239-1519; fax: 515-239-1005; email: lsmiths@iadot.e-mail.com).

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