The Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA) has announced that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) has won a 2005 Perpetual Pavement Award for a section of Trunk Highway 18 in Crow Wing County.
The award will be presented at a special ceremony during the International Conference on Perpetual Pavement in Columbus, OH, Sept. 14.
Mn/DOT will receive an engraved crystal obelisk and a plaque and will have its name and project added to a permanent plaque, which is kept at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) in Auburn, AL.
To qualify for this award, a pavement must meet strict criteria and demonstrate hot-mix asphalt’s (HMA’s) long-life characteristics, excellence in design, quality in construction, and value to the traveling public. It also must have been constructed at least 35 years ago.
Engineers at NCAT evaluated the nominations and a panel of industry experts validated the winners.
Minnesota’s award-winning pavement is an 18-mi. stretch of TH 18 from milepost 2 to 20 between Brainerd and Garrison.
To build the highway, MnDOT had to cut and fill swamp areas with granular material. Since the area has a high water table, the road was built with a frost-free design to help facilitate drainage.
Construction was staged over a year to help the subgrade moisture content reach equilibrium.
The contractor for the original paving job, W. Hodgman & Sons Inc., built the highway with a granular subgrade, 10 in. of a gravel subbase, 4.5 in. of a gravel base, 1.5 in. of roadmix HMA and 3 in. of surface HMA. The road was opened to traffic in 1959.
Since then, this section of TH 18 has carried approximately 1 million ESALs (equivalent single axle loads) and has required minimal maintenance. It received a seal coat in 1967, a 2.5-in. overlay of HMA in 1982 and a 1.5-in. overlay of HMA in 1992.
“The Minnesota Department of Transportation is very pleased and honored to accept this national Perpetual Pavement Award,” said Keith Shannon, director of the Mn/DOT Office of Materials. “TH 18 is truly an example of long-life or perpetual HMA pavement in Minnesota. Staging the construction of the pavement structure layers as traffic loads increased allowed for an enhanced overall pavement structure. Also, applying the two thin HMA overlays over the life of the pavement to maintain the roadway has prolonged the service of this long life pavement to the benefit of the tax-paying public.
“The project has demonstrated outstanding design, construction, and performance value for 47 years of service to the traveling public. Through projects such as this, Minnesota has played an outstanding role in the history of transportation, technological change, and HMA construction. We will continue to work effectively and efficiently to give our customers an exceptional transportation system at a value.”
“This 18-mile stretch of highway is an excellent example of how well a bituminous pavement can perform by incorporating sound, yet basic, engineering principles,” added Robert Busch, Transportation District engineer. “This particular section of TH 18 was originally constructed with a quality flexible pavement section over a granular subgrade, exactly like our current frost-free design standards have evolved to. We expect this highway to last a long time into the future without any regrading and minimal future maintenance. This will give the traveling public the smooth and structurally sound pavement that they expect from their tax dollars.”
“Even though this pavement has been punished by more than 40 years of use, motorists are still using the original pavement structure,” said Alden Bailey, APA co-chairman. “The extraordinary performance of this pavement is worthy of attention.”
“Perpetual Pavement is an industry standard which is extremely well represented by this highway,” added Laurence O’Donnell, APA co-chairman. “Long life, durability, and exceptional performance are hallmarks of-hot mix asphalt. This pavement is testimony to high-performance asphalt as a marriage of excellent design and quality construction.”
The Asphalt Pavement Alliance is a coalition of the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the Asphalt Institute, and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations. The Asphalt Pavement Alliance’s mission is to further the use and quality of hot-mix asphalt pavements. The Alliance will accomplish this through research, technology transfer, engineering, education, and innovation.