By Josh Weinstein and Colleen Carow
Ohio University recently hosted nearly 100 experts from across the globe on perpetual pavement -- asphalt pavements with a lifespan of 40-50 years with minimal maintenance.
The university's Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment (ORITE), part of the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology, hosted the International Conference on Perpetual Pavement 2009 last week in Columbus, Ohio.
ORITE's facilities are among the nation's top 10 percent for testing and analyzing materials and infrastructure. As part of the conference, ORITE demonstrated a warm asphalt perpetual pavement installed at its Accelerated Pavement Load Facility (APLF) at Ohio University-Lancaster.
A 45-foot-long, four-lane test road was built up from the soil inside the building to test three kinds of warm asphalt and to test different thicknesses of perpetual pavement. Temperature, humidity and moisture can be controlled, and a rolling tire load can be applied to simulate a passing truck, up to 500 times per hour.
At the conference, transportation professionals from as far as Indonesia and Afghanistan discussed optimal design and construction approaches for perpetual pavements, which have a life cycle about double that of a typical road. The pavements can thus save millions of dollars in transportation costs by extending the life of asphalt pavements and reducing maintenance to minimal levels.
Harman Rahman, of the Institute of Technology in Bandung, Indonesia, hopes to collaborate with ORITE and other conference participants in the hope of improving his country. "This brings a broader view for me and my country on the benefits of implementing the long-life pavement and what must be prepared in order get an optimum result," he said.
Keynote speakers included Mike Nunn, a specialist pavement consultant of LaneOne, Limited, in the United Kingdom, which has a population density about 10 times that of the United States, causing heavily trafficked roads.
Cliff Ursich, director of Flexible Pavements of Ohio, said the convergence of such professionals will advance premier pavement performance on Ohio roads.
"The conference presentations demonstrate that perpetual asphalt pavement has great promise for improving mobility in Ohio," he said.