Route 255 Earns Pavement Award

Wed April 26, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has won a 2005 Perpetual Pavement Award for a section of State Route 255 in Huntsville.

The award will be presented at a ceremony during the International Conference on Perpetual Pavement in Columbus, OH, on September 14.

ALDOT 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.

Alabama’s award-winning pavement is a 2.8-mi. stretch of SR 255, a road that serves as the north-south link between I-565 (the old SR 20) and US 72, as well as the primary access to Redstone Arsenal and the Marshall Space Flight Center for more than 35 years.

Construction of the road started in February 1967, and it was opened to traffic in May 1969. The original construction consisted of 5 in. of stabilized subgrade, 10 in. of dense-graded aggregate base, 2.25 in. of HMA binder course, and 1.35 in. of surface course. In 1986, an overlay of approximately 1 in. of HMA was placed from milepost 1.39 to 2.12 in the northbound direction. In 1988, an overlay of approximately 1 in. of HMA was placed from milepost 1.34 to 2.34 in the southbound direction. In 1999, approximately 3 in. of HMA was placed over the pavement between mileposts 0 and 2.35.

There has never been any patching of the road aside from these two placements of the surface mix, and only a portion of the length had to be resurfaced after 17 years of service. There are no signs of underlying fatigue or distress along any of the original 2.82 mi. of construction.

“We had an excellent subgrade, an excellent base and some very high quality paving materials —¬†asphalt, sand, and fine and coarse aggregates,” said Johnny Harris, division engineer with ALDOT’s First Division. “The plant mix was of a very high quality.”

“We are very proud and honored to receive this national recognition for Alabama’s efforts,” said ALDOT Director Joe McInnes. “More durable, longer-lasting roadway surfaces allow us to stretch our limited highway dollars.”

Alden Bailey, APA co-chairman said the project is worthy of attention.

“Even though this pavement has been punished by nearly 40 years of use, motorists are still using the original pavement structure,” he said.