FHWA, AASHTO gauge real-time concrete pavement quality

Source: Transtec Group, Austin, Texas

In an effort to reduce costs, increase pavement quality, and minimize travel delays caused by road construction, the Federal Highway Administration, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and Transportation Research Board will help agencies implement a tool that allows contractors to identify concrete pavement surface irregularities during construction.

Real-time pavement smoothness has been selected for guided implementation under the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2), which will begin accepting applications in May from state departments of transportation who wish to deploy the technology with an eye to accelerating construction pace and increasing quality. SHRP2 is committed to delivering solutions that address growing congestion and aging infrastructure while increasing roadway and construction safety. During typical construction, contractors must wait for concrete pavement to gain adequate strength before evaluating smoothness, which can result in costly penalties and corrective grinding to meet requirements. By monitoring the smoothness of freshly placed concrete, contractors can make timely adjustments to improve operations, increase quality control, and deliver pavements faster.

Two devices measuring real-time pavement smoothness will be available for implementation assistance—the Gomaco Smoothness Indicator and Ames Engineering Real Time Profiler. They were selected after SHRP2-backed research and evaluation performed by pavement engineer Transtec Group. Investigators evaluated the devices for practicality and accuracy during pavement projects in Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Michigan, and New York.

State DOTs can apply from May 30–June 27 to participate in the SHRP2 effort to familiarize agencies and associated contractors with the selected real-time pavement smoothness devices. The program aims to provide participating agencies with approximately $60,000 worth of equipment rental, training, and technical support. Applications can be completed here.