The Pavement Engineering and Science (PES) program at the University of Nevada, Reno was chosen for a project with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help administer their five-year program that aims to stimulate, facilitate, and expedite the deployment and rapid adoption of new and innovative technologies relating to the design, production, testing, control, construction, and investigation of asphalt pavements.
“With such a broad spectrum of areas, our entire team, including faculty and industry representatives we work with, can cover all of the innovations, training, and laboratory work required by FHWA; we have a diversity of knowledge and we understand very well FHWA’s needs,” Elie Hajj, project lead and associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Civil and Environmental Department, says.
The work plan addresses several innovative areas. The first task is to finalize the work plan, which includes: identifying gaps in technology; risk/benefit analysis of adopting new technologies; define target audience for advancing technologies; market summary – who needs technical training or who are end users; message development; barrier analysis; performance measures and outcomes tools for communicate the new innovations; training; refinement of standards and specifications.
Some of the innovation areas include using innovative binders for asphalt, reclaimed asphalt pavement mixtures, reclaimed asphalt shingles for use with binders and mixtures, and on-site field investigations using nondestructive techniques.
Hajj’s team includes project manager Adam Hand and senior researcher and PES program director Peter Sebaaly of the university’s pavement program; from Applied Research Associates, Harold Von Quintus (also co-principal investigator), Jennifer McCabe, Letha Cozart and Rodney Walker, marketing staff; and from Paragon Technical Services, co-principal investigator Gaylon Baumgardner.
The university’s pavement program includes the Western Regional Superpave Center (WRSC), one of only five such FHWA established centers in the country. The center works on a number of research projects to improve pavements in Nevada and around the country, including asphalt and concrete pavement testing, software analysis tools developed for use around the world, a national research database and superheavy load research - all in the department's five expansive and advanced labs dedicated to pavement and materials research.
The unique laboratory facilities give the pavement engineers the ability to perform both industry standard and innovative tests. More than 50,000 square feet is dedicated to pavements and materials testing spread across two buildings. The WRSC is certified by the AASHTO as a source for numerous aggregate, binder, and mix tests.
"Our pavement program exemplifies both excellence and high productivity, is conducting research critically important for our state and the nation and has earned a well-deserved international reputation," says Manos Maragakis, Dean of the College of Engineering. “This solidifies our standing as a premier pavement engineering program.”