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Area Contractors Win Award For 'Exceptionally Smooth Ride'

Wed July 01, 2020 - West Edition #14

Riverside Contracting Inc., of Montana, won the Smoothest Pavement without Wearing Course award for a project on U.S. 14 near Dayton.
Riverside Contracting Inc., of Montana, won the Smoothest Pavement without Wearing Course award for a project on U.S. 14 near Dayton.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) recently recognized two contractors for completing state road surfacing projects that provided an exceptionally smooth ride.

WYDOT recognized Simon Contractors, of Cheyenne, with the Smoothest Pavement with Wearing Course award for a project on Interstate 80 near Cheyenne. The department also recognized Riverside Contracting Inc., of Montana, with the Smoothest Pavement without Wearing Course award for a project on U.S. 14 near Dayton.

"We are pleased to recognize these two companies for the fine paving work they did on those projects," said Shelby Carlson, WYDOT chief engineer. "These two companies continually produce an outstanding product for the people of Wyoming and we are grateful. Projects like these enable us to provide an effective and high quality transportation system for the people of Wyoming and to benefit Wyoming's economy."

WYDOT began recognizing high-quality asphalt pavement construction with regard to pavement smoothing in 2001. The move was to recognize the exceptional work on road surfaces that will benefit the traveling public.

WYDOT officials evaluate smoothness based on calculations that use an International Roughness Index (IRI) determined by driving roads with vehicles equipped with a device that measures road surfaces. WYDOT analyzes the data to determine the IRI value for the smoothness award.

The award for Smoothest Pavement with Wearing Course looks at the overall surface ride and how smooth it is for vehicles. That category has a wearing course on the surface, which is typically about three-fourths of an inch thick and is applied as a top layer to provide water drainage.

The water hits the wearing course, seeps down and then is drained out the sides of the road, preventing the surface from having standing water to improve safety for the traveling public. A wearing course is typically added to higher-volume roads such as interstates 80, 25 and 90.

The award for Smoothest Pavement without a Wearing Course also takes into account the overall surface ride. But that award doesn't have the additional wearing course layer. Those types of roads are typically seen on lower traffic volume roads and have a chip seal course to provide the friction surface during water runoff.

The I-80 project Simon Contractors worked on was 10 mi. in the westbound lane between Cheyenne and Pine Bluffs. Crews performed a 2-in. mill and 3-in. hot plant mix with a wearing course.

"Simon Contractors were able to get a smooth road while maintaining traffic, which can be challenging," said Wayne Shenefelt, resident engineer on the project in Cheyenne. "That section of road is smooth, the work has improved the safety in that section and it should hold up for a number of years thanks to their work. Prior to the project, there were numerous potholes, aging pavement and lost surface friction. With the new pavement and wearing course, there are no longer potholes for drivers to hit and with the new wearing course, the friction factor of the surface has been increased."

Simon Contractor officials said they're pleased WYDOT recognized the company for its work.

"We strive each and every day to achieve the smoothest pavement possible on our projects," said Steve Bastian, construction manager with Simon Contractors. "Ensuring we provide a smooth pavement shows that we consistently produce the best product out there."

The U.S. 14 project Riverside Contracting worked on was an overlay on five miles between Dayton and Ranchester. Crews performed a 2-in. mill and 2-in. hot plant mix overlay.

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