2016 Sheldon G. Hayes Award
The Sheldon G. Hayes Award winner is determined through a two-year process. Highway pavement projects using more than 50,000 tons of asphalt are eligible for consideration. Initially, they must win a Quality in Construction (QIC) Award, which is determined by numerical scores given by pavement engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) on the basis of how well the contractor met the specifications and achieved density on the finished pavement. All the pavements that meet a benchmark figure are given the QIC award.
The year after a project wins a QIC Award, it may be considered for the Sheldon G. Hayes Award. The top-ranked projects from each year are tested for smoothness, then visually inspected by an independent pavement consultant with many years of experience in the industry. This year, the evaluators praised the contestants for high-quality construction practices resulting in smooth, safe, and durable pavements.
NORTHEAST ASPHALT INC., A WALBEC GROUP CO.
Northeast Asphalt Inc., a Walbec Group Co., and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation were named the winner for Northeast Asphalt Inc.’s work on State Trunk Highway 26 from Waupun to Rosendale. The project was anything but routine for Northeast Ashalt.
Two pilot requirements were in place during the entire STH 26 project – a Quality Management Program (QMP) special provision to pulverize and relay base density and a HMA high-recycle test section, said Chris Winiecki, Professional Engineer and Area Manager for Northeast Asphalt.
The 16-mile stretch of construction included various road widenings, the reshaping of twelve intersections, fifteen culvert crossings, a 2,500 linear-foot full realignment of the highway, a 2-inch mill and overlay, and a 5 ½-inch mill/pulverization and relay. All of this added up to the placement of 133,222 tons of E-10 asphalt mixture, 19.0 mm used on the binder courses and 12.5 mm used on the surface lift.
"To be awarded the highest honor in asphalt paving is truly humbling," Winiecki said. "This is the result of exceptional collaboration between the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WDOT) and industry in the design phase, coupled with a high degree of skill and attention to detail by all the men and women involved in the field construction."
The QMP provision— a base course density provision — helped WDOT decide if base density is a viable option for the future. Trying to achieve density created one of Northeast Asphalt's biggest challenges during the project, mostly due to an inconsistent existing road structure with thickness variations between 7.5-12 inches, Winiecki said.
Another crucial piece of the project's operation was the high-recycle HMA pilot that was permanently installed in the southern portion of the project and used on the lower and middle lifts. This consisted of a second E-10 19mm design with a large amount of binder replacement that met various performance test requirements.
Once completed, the mix design was put into full production to include the more than 12,000 tons of high recycle HMA used. Brett Williams, Corporate Technical Services Manager for Northeast Asphalt, said the high-recycle mix design required more testing than a traditional hot-mix asphalt design.
These included performance testing requirements for rutting (the Hamburg wheel track); thermal cracking (disk-shaped compact tension test, DCT); fatigue (semi-circular bend test, SCB); moisture susceptibility; and binder recovery.
Ray Brown, Emeritus Director for the National Center for Asphalt Technology, said the additional energy Northeast Asphalt expended to complete the project paid off.
"All of this extra effort to meet the QMP provisions and to meet the properties for high recycle content made it even more difficult to produce a mixture with low test variability and one that met the conventional requirements plus the extra requirements for high-recycle content mixes," Brown said.
KNIFE RIVER MATERIALS NORTHERN MINNESOTA
Knife River Materials, Northern Minnesota was contracted to reconstruct TH 32 in Pennington and Marshall counties, located in the western portion of Minnesota. The 22-mile project connected the northern portion of the state that brushes against Canada to the bustling town of Thief River Falls at the southern end.
The overall project was ambitious and diverse, ranging from milling, full-depth reclamation, and grading to bituminous surfacing, lighting, and box culvert placement. Construction also included work to comply with the American with Disabilities Act.
Knife River coordinated its work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and its various subcontractors, said Chad Schmidtke, Knife River Estimator/Project Manager.
Coordination played a crucial role in accomplishing the various elements of the project, Schmidtke said. The Knife River crew worked long hours for more than 20 days, laying down 128,855 tons of asphalt mixture.
"It took a great amount of teamwork to produce that amount of tonnage," Schmidtke said.
The project involved removing and replacing four major precast concrete box culverts and upwards of 60-70 centerline culverts, Schmidtke said. Knife River had a well-laid plan to tackle the entire project, only to be met with a delay of the material supply for the culverts.
Ray Brown, National Center for Asphalt Technology Emeritus Director, said Knife River took extra steps to ensure a smooth ride, especially considering the many facets of the project. “Even though this project required placement of several box culverts and other significant work to the underlying materials, the final ride on this project was excellent as observed when driving over the project and as observed in the IRI data for the project,” Brown said.
NORRIS ASPHALT PAVING CO.
Norris Asphalt Paving and the Iowa Department of Transportation were named a finalist for a 10.8-mile overlay on State Highway 2 that took about three months to complete and required extensive work to cover over the faulted Portland Cement Concrete pavement.
“It was one of those jobs that just started off and went well, and we just walked right through the job,” said Brady Meldrem, President of Norris Asphalt Paving Co.
The existing roadway needed to be widened from 24- to 32-feet, which was accomplished by excavation and placement of additional paved shoulders on the outside of the project, Meldrem said.
“Then, basically it was just a milling project to produce recycled asphalt to utilize back into the mixture and then an overlay of the extra width as well as the mainline,” Meldrem said. “It also included longitudinal sub drains to improve the drainage alongside of the road.”
To improve safety, guardrails were added and crews flattened the slopes on the road, Meldrem said. The original contract specified a two-lift overlay of an intermediate and a surface course, but Norris Asphalt went back to the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) to request a scratch course and adjustment of the thickness of the other lifts. The goal was to improve smoothness and minimize reflection cracking of joints.
Scott Sommers, IDOT’s transportation Engineer Manager, said the final pavement consisted of the 1-inch scratch course, a 1.5-inch intermediate course, and 1.5-inch surface course.
Ray Brown, Emeritus Director for the National Center for Asphalt Technology, said this leveling course placed prior to the overlay also helped seal the new surface from existing cracks.
“The scratch coat helped to provide a pavement with improved smoothness and having fewer reflective cracks after one year in place,” Brown said.
Meldrem said he directly links Norris Asphalt’s successful projects to the company’s policy on distribution of incentive money earned by each project.
“As the project receives incentives on the job — primarily with the smoothness incentive — the company has a policy of sharing that incentive with our crews,” he said.
NORTHEAST ASPHALT INC., A WALBEC GROUP CO.
Northeast Asphalt Inc. and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation were named a finalist for their work on USH 141 Wausaukee to Beaver, Crivitz, Wis. The 113,000-ton asphalt project in Crivitz, Wis., was 17.4 miles in length and had a long to-do list: milling and overlay, one mile of urban lane widening, two structure replacements, a new railroad crossing, twenty-six intersections that needed to be rebuilt, and seven miles of rural lane widenings to add four new passing lanes.
In addition, WDOT added a pilot program to the project that required several asphalt mix designs to be used. These included high-recycle mixes, some approaching 40 percent binder replacement, Gonnering said.
The project was easily divided into three phases, with the majority of the northern end of the job carried over to the next construction season due to marsh excavation. The idea was to make use of the two planned detours in the two southern portions of the project, so it would be easier to perform the lane widenings and intersection improvements.
The pilot program involved multiple layers of high-recycle paving, including the surface layer, Gonnering said. The company used a 19.0 mm E-3 mix on the lower layers and a 12.5 mm E-3 mix on the surface. This project used hot-mix asphalt produced from sand- and gravel-pit material.
This project’s specification required the high-recycle mix designs to undergo additional performance tests, including tests for rutting (the Hamburg wheel track); thermal cracking (disk-shaped compact tension test, DCT); fatigue (semi-circular bend test, SCB); moisture susceptibility; and binder recovery.
“I think due to the fact that we had all the additional performance testing, with long-term aging requirements – 120 hours of aging at 85 degrees – helped ensure we were checking the mix for long-term performance,” said Brett Williams, Corporate Technical Services Manager for Northeast Asphalt.
SHELLY AND SANDS INC.
Shelly & Sands and the Ohio Department of Transportation are finalists for I-77, Noble County, for which they were required to meet joint density specifications.
The requirement specifies 6-inch cores to be cut on the joint within Percent Within Limits (PWL) guidelines, with a 90 percent minimum to be met. In addition, a modified joint sealer on the cold joint must be applied.
“The main difference in this specification is that the contractor is required to take 6-inch asphalt joint cores directly over any cold longitudinal joints instead of 4-inch joint cores being taken with an offset from the actual joint of approximately 6 inches, as is the standard practice,” said M. Blake Brown, ODOT Area Engineer, District 10.
Ed Morrison, Quality Control Director with Shelly & Sands, said the company voluntarily decided to cut the joint by milling four inches of the cold joint just prior to paving the adjacent line. This helped achieve the maximum joint density incentive that was possible, which was 2 percent of the bid price for the 1.5-inch, 12.5mm surface course.
“We had to trim the joint back four inches to ensure we would have a good lateral face and also to achieve maximum density,” Morrison said. “We were able to do all that and still achieve our density requirements.”
ODOT said at first it wasn’t sure how well Shelly & Sands would be able to meet the new requirements.
“The milling was performed along the entire length of the proposed longitudinal joint and ultimately enabled Shelly & Sands to achieve both a consistent, straight joint and exceptional joint density throughout the entirety of the project,” M. Blake Brown said.
While the Federal Aviation Administration has had a required joint density requirement similar to supplemental specification 806 on its resurfacing projects for a number of years, it was Shelly & Sands’ first project with the requirement from ODOT. The two-month project was completed on Oct. 10, 2015, with more than 64,000 tons of asphalt used for the two-lift project. A 1.75-inch, 19 mm binder was placed prior to the 1.5-inch 12.5 mm surface course.
“We paved the mainline and then there’s a 10-foot shoulder that we paved with a second paver in echelon with the mainline paver,” Morrison said.