Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Wins 2015 Perpetual Pavement Award

PennDOT Honored for Success of Long-Life Asphalt Section of I-180

To qualify for this prestigious award, a pavement must be at least 35 years old and never had a structural failure. The average interval between resurfacing of each winning pavement must be no less than 13 years.  The pavement must demonstrate the characteristics expected from long-life, Perpetual Pavement design: excellence in design, quality in construction and value to taxpayers.

Engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) located in Auburn, Alabama, evaluated the nominations and validated the results for the Perpetual Pavement Award winners.

The award-winning section of I-180 is a four-lane, divided highway that runs from Williamsport to just north of Milton (mile post 1.5 to mile post 4.5). The state built the road in 1971 with an 18-inch modified sub-base, 10-inch sub-base, 8-inch asphalt base and 1.5-inch asphalt wearing course. It was opened to traffic in 1972.

The road received surface treatment seals in 1981 and in 2015. It received a 1-inch overlay in 1993 and a 1.5-inch wearing course overlay in 2015.

An average of 7,669 vehicles per day travel this section of road, with 27 percent truck traffic. It has carried approximately 34.7 equivalent single axle loads (ESALS) since it opened in 1972. The road has continued to provide a comfortable ride for motorists, measuring 57 (excellent) on the International Roughness Index (IRI) and an average 92 (good) on the overall pavement index (OPI).

“Quality initial construction practices and effective pavement management and maintenance are a critical to long lasting pavements.  These essential components of every paving project are keystones of PennDOT, District 3’s pavement construction and management process, and are important factors in this section of I-180 being selected to receive the 2015 Perpetual Pavement Award,” said Sandra Tosca, P.E., PennDOT Engineering District 3 Executive.

“The pavement on Interstate 180 is an excellent example of how well-constructed, well-maintained pavement can remain in service for a long period of time in relatively high traffic areas.  Ensuring that the pavement surface is sealed via crack sealing and seal coats or microsurfacing is extremely important, as are properly functioning and maintained drainage systems.   These relatively low cost maintenance actions delay the need for more expensive overlays and even more expensive reconstruction projects, which is very important to maximize the effective use of our transportation funding.”

As a winner of a 2015 Perpetual Award, PennDOT will receive an engraved crystal obelisk, and its name and project will be added to a plaque on permanent display at the NCAT Research Center at Auburn University.

“One of the keys to sustainability is long life,” said Amy Miller, P.E., national director of the Asphalt Pavement Alliance. “Asphalt roads can be engineered to last indefinitely with only routine maintenance and periodic surface renewal.”

“The advantages of these perpetual pavements are significant.  Life cycle costs are lower because deep pavement repairs and reconstruction are avoided.  User delays are reduced because minor surface rehabilitation requires shorter work windows and can avoid peak traffic hours.  And there are environment benefits because minimal rehabilitation, combined with recycling any materials that are removed from the pavement surface, reduces the amount of material resources required over the pavement’s life.”

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