Paving away

After a successful reconstruction this summer, the National Center for Asphalt Technology has begun its sixth cycle of accelerated pavement testing. Major focus areas of the three-year cycle include pavement preservation and pavement recycling, as well as structural, surface and material studies.

The first phase of the research cycle consists of constructing test sections on and off NCAT’s 1.7-mile Pavement Test Track. In the second phase, a five-truck fleet applies over a design lifetime of typical interstate traffic to experimental sections in just two years, and traffic on off-track sections is carefully documented. Damaged sections are analyzed in the final phase to determine the contributing factors to pavement distresses.

Many of the same pavement preservation treatments installed in Alabama will also be investigated in a cold weather climate through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s MnROAD facility. Sponsors of the sixth testing cycle include highway agencies and private sector partners who will use NCAT’s research to improve materials, specifications and design policies across the country.