Confused About Asphalt Resilience? This New Report Can Help

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Iowa flood asphalt resilience
A case study of flooding in Iowa in 2019 is included in a report recently released by Auburn University professors on asphalt resilience.
Dr. Scott Schram, Iowa DOT

Resilience is a term being discussed quite a bit when it comes to infrastructure, but what does it mean and how does it apply to building asphalt roads?

A recent report published by the National Asphalt Pavement Association seeks to answer those questions and more, as well as provide recommendations for asphalt contractors and others in the asphalt industry.

The Resilient Asphalt Pavements: Industry Solutions for the Resilience Goal says evaluating infrastructure resilience involves determining its risk to disaster, such as a flood, and then addressing that risk.

The report also includes the Federal Highway Administration’s definition of resilience:

“The ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.”

Examples of asphalt’s resilience include:

  • Rapid constructability to repair damaged roads and reduce user delay costs.
  • Perpetual Pavement design to harden pavement systems.
  • The ability to leverage maintenance overlays to harden the system and adapt to changing climate conditions.
  • Use of recycled materials, when supply chains are cut off due to a disruptive event.
  • Warm mix asphalt technologies to increase haul distance or assist in cold-weather environments during disaster response activities.
  • Materials grounded in climate adaptation (i.e., Performance Graded asphalt binders).
  • Porous asphalt pavements that reduce flood risks for communities.

The report also includes a case study on interstates that flooded in Iowa and techniques used to open roads quickly as well as save money.

In the report, authored by Drs. Benjamin Bowers and Fan Gu of Auburn University, 10 recommendations are proposed to improve asphalt pavement resilience.

It lays out these proposals for what asphalt contractors and producers should do:

  • Consider ways to make their facilities more resilient to ensure continuity of business operations and provide rapid response to an extreme event.
  • Develop contingency plans and continuity of operations plans in the event of a disaster.

For more on the free 20-page report and its recommendations, click here.