The clean, bright concrete surface at Jack's Truck Stop, just off the I-65 exit for Cullman, Ala., reflects a victory for the concrete industry in a recent skirmish in its continuing marketing war with asphalt. Local producers demonstrated ingenuity and engineering know-how as they convinced the truck stop's owner to replace a potholed gravel surface with a specially designed roller-compacted concrete.

While RCC is not exactly a secret, Bill Roy, vice president of operations for Ready Mix USA Inc., Pelham, Ala., and Steve Harper, territory manager for National Cement, Birmingham, Ala., hope this project's success in both appearance and cost will provide area concrete contractors with a viable weapon in the war against asphalt overlays.

Greg Abramson, owner of Abramson LLC, demanded a production rate of 200 to 300 cubic yards per hour to get his costs down to that of asphalt.

Equipped with an inclined conveyor belt that charges dump boxes, Sequatchie Concrete's 4-yard drum mixer was a good fit for the project and the plant. With help from Dan Green, technical service manager for National Cement, Roy came up with a mix using No. 57 crushed stone and a manufactured limestone sand.

The RCC placement procedure required a near-zero-slump mix with enough density to support construction equipment. Working with technicians at Vulcan Materials' nearby aggregate lab, Green fine-tuned the design so that the lab mix achieved a 150-pound-per-cubic-foot moist density.

Three days after placement, fully loaded trucks were again parked at the truck stop.

Having established a bridgehead for RCC in the local market, Roy and Harper hope to eventually lay siege to the competing parking-lot material. "We hope to use this project as a showcase for RCC," says Harper.

The article includes a list of 1911 allocation of funds to various states that is a testament to the historical difficulty of obtaining federal financing of highway projects.