South Carolina DOT Wins Perpetual Pavement Award

Thu April 14, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has won a 2004 Perpetual Pavement Award for a section of Interstate 26 in Spartanburg County from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA).

The award will be presented May 18 by Jack Lettiere Jr., 2005 president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University in Auburn, AL.

To qualify for this award, a pavement must meet strict criteria and demonstrate hot mix asphalt’s (HMA) 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.

“This is a testament to SCDOT’s long-standing commitment to provide quality roads for the citizens of South Carolina,” said SCDOT Executive Director Elizabeth S. Mabry. “We will continue to work effectively and efficiently to give our customers an exceptional transportation system at a value.”

The award-winning pavement is a 5-mi. section of Interstate Route 26 in Spartanburg County between the North Carolina state line and South Carolina Route 11. The highway was opened to traffic in 1969.

The original construction of the road consisted of 3.8 in. of aggregate subbase, 7 in. of aggregate base course, 6.3 in. of asphalt aggregate base, 2.4 in. of asphalt intermediate course and 1.4 in. of asphalt surface course. The pavement was resurfaced in 1980 with 2.9 in. of HMA and .7 in. of Open Graded Friction Course (OGFC). In 1997, contractors milled 1.9 in. from the surface and replaced it with 1.9 in. of HMA and .4 in. of OGFC.

There also has been some patching to repair areas gouged by traffic.

Although the road was originally designed to withstand the impact of 1.6 million ESALs (equivalent single axle loads), transportation officials estimate that the road has actually withstood the effects of 12.5 million ESALS over the years.

“In many respects, we feel this pavement is not special, but represents the typical long-lasting, low-maintenance flexible pavements we have built for many years,” said Acting State Highway Engineer Tony L. Chapman. “Thanks to careful engineering, good materials and attention to quality, pavements like this have made South Carolina one of the top-ranking states in interstate condition despite having the lowest per-mile expenditure of any state transportation department in the country. As South Carolina’s interstate system continues to age, we expect other sections will exceed the performance of this segment.”

“Even though this pavement has been punished by more than 35 years of use, motorists are still using the original pavement structure,” said Larry O’Donnell, 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 Luke Stango, 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.”

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