Construction Jobs: Case Studies: Successful Applications of Warm Mixed Asphalt in Road Construction

At Kilgore Companies, we’ve been at the forefront of innovative road construction techniques for years. One of the advancements we’ve embraced is the use of Warm Mixed Asphalt (WMA) in our projects. WMA has revolutionized the way we approach road construction, offering many benefits over traditional hot mix asphalt (HMA). In this article, we talk about some case studies that highlight the successful use of WMA and how it’s shaping the future of road construction and construction jobs

What is Warm Mixed Asphalt (WMA)?

Before we dive into our case studies, let’s briefly discuss what WMA entails. According to the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association, “Warm Mix Asphalt is a relatively new technology that originated in Europe, but the technique was first created by Professor Csanyi at Iowa State University in 1956. In 1968 Mobile Oil Australia patented the invention, and the United States began to use it after it was licensed to Conoco Inc. WMA was introduced at the 2003 National Asphalt Pavement Association Convention. In 2004 the first field trials began on U.S. soil in Florida and North Carolina. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that AASHTO began research projects on the new asphalt technology.”  Unlike HMA, which is produced at high temperatures (typically between 300°F and 350°F), WMA is mixed and compacted at lower temperatures (usually between 200°F and 250°F). This lower temperature has several advantages, such as reduced energy consumption, lower emissions, a longer paving season, and improved workability.

1. Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Study:

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) conducted a study to evaluate Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) compared to Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) on a section of US 290 near Austin. The study followed various aspects such as pavement performance, environmental impact, and construction efficiency.

Results from the study showcased that WMA performed equivalently or even better than HMA in terms of pavement durability, resistance to rutting, and longevity. This finding was big as it got rid of any concerns about the effectiveness of WMA compared to traditional hot mix methods.

The study highlighted the environmental benefits of WMA. By using WMA, TxDOT reduced energy consumption and emissions during the asphalt production process. This aligns with TxDOT’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure development and reducing the carbon footprint of road construction projects.

The study also found improvements in construction efficiency with WMA. The lower mixing temperatures of WMA allowed for smoother paving operations, improved compaction, and reduced time for asphalt cooling. This not only enhanced the quality of the pavement but also streamlined the construction process, leading to cost savings and faster project completion.

Overall, TxDOT’s study serves as an endorsement of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) as an effective alternative to traditional Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) in road construction.

2. City of Madison, Wisconsin Road Resurfacing Project:

The City of Madison, Wisconsin, implemented Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) in a road resurfacing project on Mineral Point Road. This project aimed to improve the pavement quality reduce environmental impact and enhance community satisfaction.

One of the benefits observed during the project was the smoother pavement surfaces achieved with WMA. The lower mixing temperatures of WMA allowed for better workability and compaction, resulting in a more durable pavement surface. This contributed to better ride quality for motorists and reduced wear and tear over time along with more construction jobs

Environmental considerations were also big in the decision to use WMA. By using WMA, the City of Madison reduced construction-related emissions and energy consumption compared to traditional hot mix methods. This aligns with the city’s sustainability goals and demonstrates its commitment to environmentally responsible infrastructure development.

Community feedback on the project was positive, with residents and motorists appreciating the minimized disruptions during construction. The efficient paving operations by WMA contributed to smoother traffic flow and reduced inconveniences for commuters and local businesses along Mineral Point Road.

The City of Madison’s road resurfacing project exemplifies the successful application of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) in achieving high-quality pavement, environmental sustainability, and community satisfaction.

3. California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Pilot Project:

Caltrans, the California Department of Transportation, conducted a pilot project on State Route 60 to evaluate the performance of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) for pavement rehabilitation. The project focused on finding WMA’s benefits in terms of energy savings, emissions reduction, and pavement durability. According to Caltrans, “the project will improve the traffic mobility and safety of the major regional arterial.”

Results from the pilot project showed significant reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) methods. The lower mixing temperatures of WMA contributed to these environmental benefits, aligning with Caltrans’ sustainability goals for reducing the transportation sector’s carbon footprint.

Caltrans also noted improved compaction and density with WMA, leading to pavement durability and longevity. The WMA sections of State Route 60 showed resistance to rutting, cracking, and other forms of pavement distress compared to other sections paved with HMA. This underscores the long-term performance advantages of WMA in demanding roadway applications.

The successful outcomes of the pilot project highlighted WMA’s potential as a cost-effective solution for pavement rehabilitation and maintenance projects undertaken by Caltrans. It also paved the way for more use of WMA in future road construction across California.

In summary, Caltrans’ pilot project on State Route 60 serves as a testament to the effectiveness of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) in achieving environmental sustainability, pavement durability, and cost savings in the context of transportation infrastructure development.

At Kilgore Companies, our commitment to excellence extends beyond the projects we undertake. We believe that every construction job is an opportunity to drive progress and build stronger communities. By using technologies like Warm Mixed Asphalt, we not only improve efficiency and performance but also minimize our environmental footprint and enhance the quality of life for those we serve. Join us in paving the way forward towards a brighter, more sustainable future. To find more construction jobs, head to our website.