Better Roads

September 2013

Better Roads Digital Magazine

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HighwayContractor By Gerald F. Voigt, P.E., president and CEO, American Concrete Pavement Association, Rosemont, Illinois AMERICAN CONCRETE PAVEMENT ASSOCIATION Evolving Overlays Thinner concrete for preserving pavements C oncrete overlays are getting thin enough today that they are becoming an option for preserving pavements. Through advances in science and technology, concrete overlays are also a resurfacing method, not just a structural component. As overlays are used by agencies for functional pavement improvement and continue to thin toward 2 inches, they begin to fit into a roadway preservation strategy. The evolution to thinner concrete overlays is a result of a better understanding of bond, shorter joint spacing, reliable design methodologies and improved fiber technology. These changes mean concrete overlay technology today goes beyond the traditional roles of construction or structural rehabilitation. Therefore, agencies can be more nimble and work within budgetary constraints. Brief History Concrete overlays date back to the early 1900s and were proven in large numbers on county roads and parking lots in the early 1980s. Many of those projects helped the industry get comfort10 able with overlays. The technology spread across the country through collaborative efforts that were similar to today's crowdsourcing methods. In the 1990s, the focus with our agency partners went beyond overlays on concrete to include overlays on asphalt pavements. Today, 60 percent of concrete overlays are on top of asphalt pavements. The acceptance and use of concrete overlays has increased steadily, and for a variety of reasons – largely related to pricing factors, research and testing, outreach, tech transfer, education and the successful placement of high-quality overlays. Our version of crowdsourcing has been inclusive and has involved industry organizations — including the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA), the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center, International Grooving & Grinding Association (IGGA) and affiliated chapter/state paving associations — along with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), state transportation agencies and academia. It is also worth noting a number of researchers, along with the accelerated load-testing facility at the FHWA's September 2013 Better Roads HighwayCon_BR0913.indd 10 8/29/13 1:10 PM

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