A 'think tank' approach

Put HMA producers and contractors, material suppliers, DOT and public works officials, agency material specification writers, academics, and consulting engineers in one room, and you have the makings of a "think tank" approach to addressing rising energy and material costs. That is the intent of the "National Symposium on HMA Energy and Recycling" slated for Oct. 22 and 23 in Austin, TX.

Sponsored by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), this second symposium (the first one was held in Indianapolis a year ago) focuses on hot-mix asphalt (HMA) recycling and energy issues affecting the production and price of HMA. Supporting the symposium are the Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association, the Kansas Asphalt Pavement Association, the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association, the Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association, the Oklahoma Asphalt Pavement Association and the Texas Asphalt Pavement Association.

It's an excellent forum to share ideas on energy savings and asphalt recycling; to learn about current asphalt supply issues, aggregate issues, high-performance mixes; and to hear DOT (Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri) and FHWA perspectives on recycling.

Asphalt producers will gain insight on plant processing strategies to maximize RAP usage, as well as how to save energy through plant efficiency, along with reducing aggregate drying costs and transportation costs. Presentations on rubblization and perpetual pavements, warm-mix asphalt with RAP and mix design for HMA recycling will also provide additional insight on ways to address rising energy and material costs while still delivering a high-performance asphalt structure.

Meetings like the National Symposium on HMA Energy and Recycling are important. The HMA industry, DOT and public works, agency material specification writers, academics and consulting engineers all recognize that rising energy and material costs are today's reality. They realize how important it is to pursue new strategies that address those rising costs. Asphalt producers and contractors need to continue to find ways to profitably compete and road agencies need to support those cost-effective solutions in order to maintain the quality of their road infrastructures. Cost-effective solutions allow road agencies to improve and maintain more lane miles with the budgets they have. Increasing RAP content in a project's mix specification, for example, lowers the overall cost of the asphalt required to complete a project. Too often higher material costs have forced road agencies to reduce the size of a proposed project, or in some cases postpone the work required until additional budget dollars are available. That only adds to the backlog of work that is needed to maintain this nation's road system.

Working together, the HMA industry and road agencies can find cost-effective solutions that will continue to deliver a quality road system taxpayers will support. The HMA Energy and Recycling Symposium "think tank" forum calls on all of us to be part of the solution.

For more information on the HMA Energy and Recycling Symposium, contact Carol Metzer at 888-468-6499 or register online.