500-year floods ripped through Colorado in September. Governor John Hickenlooper promised the public that the roads would be open by Dec. 1st. The floods destroyed 250 miles of roads and 50 bridges. They washed out Hwy 34, Hwy 36, and Hwy 7, cuttting off several communities. Reconnecting these towns before winter became a top priority. Warm mix was used on a portion of all of these roads to combat the cool temperatures and long hauls.
Local contractors and contractors from surrounding states pulled togather and accomplished this feat in record time. Most people said they could not do it in the time the governor promised. They had to move over 500 million tons of material and pave with nearly 100 thousand tons of warm mix. The Colorado DOT opened US 36 on November 4th (one month early!), US 34 on November 21st and Highway 7 on November 26th. While nobody wants to see disasters like this, the asphalt industry proves time and time again that we have what it takes to respond quickly and professionally, with a pioneering spirit.
Sometimes things get bad, really bad. Potholes littered the concrete of Virginia's Interstate 264. "I have never seen so many potholes. Chunks of pothole debris all over the roadway and flying up on cars," wrote a district facility manager as reported by the Virginian-Pilot. Vehicles were getting flat tires and "hundreds" of claims were coming in. In response, VDOT created an emergency, district-wide contract for on-call concrete patching and sought help from the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research.
In the end, it was time for "a dreamy new coating of asphalt". Crews from Branscome Paving applyed a thin layer of asphalt containing Evotherm technology over much of I-264 in Norfolk in late October. As the video shows, crews transformed the commute from a coffee spilling nightmare to a latte sipping dream. VDOT will begin adding additional inches of asphalt beginning in the spring to bolster the pavement.
Budget constraints limit how often a road gets paved in our National Parks. The parks are often located in remote enviornments, far from a local asphalt mix plant. Then, in the summer, tourists swarm the parks and their roadways. Considering these factors, the Office of Federal Lands Highway requires reliable, high-performing paving operations outside of the traditional paving months.
Trucks loaded with Evotherm WMA from Western Rock Products in Kanab, UT, headed for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. They travelled over two hours to Cape Royal Road where a paving train awaited the start of the overlay project. The National Park Service specified the construction of the overlay using an Ultrathin Bonded Wearing Course. This overlay technique utilizes a spray paver, one designed with an integrated emulsion spray system that applies the emulsion directly in front of the wave of asphalt mix under the paver machine. Evotherm was chosen by Western Rock Products to address the long haul and cool ambient conditions.
While the temperatures hovered in the upper 50’s, the strong winds along the canyon rim quickly cooled the thin lift of asphalt mix. Mix temperatures behind the screed hovered near 240°F with minimal clumping. A visiting engineer was concerned about conducting the job due to the cold temperatures, windy conditions, and long haul distance. After arriving onsite, he was even more confused to observe the mat looking so good. Having been involved with the Golden Gate Recreational Area, he quickly understood how the job was progressing so well when he learned that the mix contained Evotherm technology. Both the National Park Service and Western Rock Products were pleased with the quality of the finished surface and identified Evotherm as a key component to their success.