In 2001, the Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA) initiated the perpetual pavement award. To be considered for this award, a pavement had to meet several criteria, including a structural life of at least 35 years and a resurfacing cycle of no less than 13 years. In 2006, VDOT won its first perpetual pavement award for I-81 north of Winchester. Since then, VDOT had not submitted another project for consideration. However, in 2020, VAA Vice President David Lee collaborated with VDOT Salem District and Central Office Staff to submit another section of I-81 for the Perpetual Pavement Award. Guess what—IT WON!
The pavement section is located on southbound I-81 in Roanoke County from Mile Point 133.63 to 136.14. It was opened to traffic in 1964 and currently carries approximately 23,000 ADT, 22 percent of that being tractor-trailers and a total loading to date of nearly 100 million ESALs. This area of the Salem District is known for clayey, silty subgrade soils. Local weather conditions average 41 inches of rainfall and 20 inches of snowfall each year, in addition to many freeze‐thaw cycles. Despite the poor subgrade and weather conditions, this section of I‐81 has withstood over 56 years of heavy truck loading with minimal maintenance. Maintenance averaged 18.7 years between treatments, with the most prolonged period being 30 years between maintenance activities. The grade was increased approximately 1.8‐inches over the roadway’s lifespan, including a 1.4‐inch Surface Mix Asphalt overlay (1994) and a 0.375‐inch thick Latex‐Modified Slurry Seal (2020). There was also a Mill‐and‐Replace of 1.5″ SMA Surface Mix Asphalt in 2011.
This October, VAA and APA will present the 2020 Perpetual Pavement Award to VDOT at the Discussion with the Department meeting in Richmond. The project will be featured in the Fall/Winter edition of Virginia Asphalt magazine, along with an award ceremony.
In the meantime, David has been discussing other projects for submittal in late 2021. Remember, this does not apply to only VDOT pavements. Counties and cities are encouraged to submit as well. Contact David Lee if you have a candidate project.