More than 200 people from across central, western, and southwestern Virginia came together to attend the asphalt seminar hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and VAA in Roanoke. As noted by VAA President Trenton Clark, “This is our 13th annual set of seminars, but more importantly, the first time industry professionals were able to gather since March 2020. We will have many new challenges in the upcoming paving season; we need to have everyone on the same page and getting everyone in the same room is a start.” Following Clark’s opening comments, VDOT Salem District Engineer Ken King emphasized the importance of focusing on quality asphalt production and paving practices. He highlighted Salem District’s recent 2020 Perpetual Pavement Award from the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, noting, “This award is clear evidence that quality paving practices pay dividends for years to come.”
The remainder of the seminar was focused on safety, spec changes and quality. Ginger Quinn and Marc Lipshultz of VDOT covered roadway safety statistics from 2021 and the start of 2022. They reviewed the changes and initiatives underway in the Traffic Engineering Division. Quinn stressed the VDOT Flagger Certification in work zones. For 2022, very few materials and construction specification changes were implemented. VDOT Asphalt Program Manager Sungho Kim discussed the minor changes to specs and reviewed the impacts on mat density improvement by implementing Method A and B density determination. The overall density has shifted in the right direction with the inclusion of a bonus for Method A using cores and plugs. The last presentation before the break was made by VDOT Regional Asphalt Field Engineer Todd Rorrer. Rorrer focused on longitudinal joint construction and compaction. He stressed the need for proper tacking, straightness, compaction and density testing. While VDOT does not core the joints due to safety concerns for the technicians, the contractor’s density technician is required to test and report the compaction percentage just off of the joint. This check is done to ensure the compaction meets the minimum of 95% compared to the target mat density.
Following a morning break, a joint presentation by VDOT Regional Asphalt Field Engineer Bryan Smith and Superior Paving’s Senior Operations Manager James Deverna covered the overall process for smooth asphalt pavement. Deverna got into the details from a contractor’s perspective. He reviewed all aspects that the contractor should consider, from existing pavement conditions to trucking. The last set of presentations for the seminar dealt with E-Construction. VAA’s Vice President David Lee discussed the Headlight Smartforms application. Smartforms will be available to VAA members for collecting, analyzing and reporting asphalt density and tack coat information. Lee gave a live demonstration of the application during his presentation. Then Jeff Jaeckle of VDOT’s Construction Division covered the use of electronic files containing testing results. A panel session closed the meeting with panelists taking questions from the in-person audience and those submitted through the sli.do app.
The next regional seminar will be held on March 24 at the Fredericksburg Expo and Convention Center. If you’d like to attend, contact Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org.