Roadbuilder Shelly & Sands Inc., Zanesville, OH, received 97% of the available bonus for smoothness attained in constructing dual-lane Ohio S.R. 161 on new alignment in Franklin and Licking counties, just east of Columbus.
The asphalt paving was so exemplary that the contractor received Flexible Pavements of Ohio's Quality Award for Asphalt Paving for 2008.
Shelly & Sands received the award from the state asphalt contractor association for "achieving the highest quality in asphalt paving as exhibited by superior workmanship and riding quality".
While Shelly & Sands did all drainage, paving, bridge and wall construction, earthwork was subbed to Beaver Excavating Company of Canton, OH, and lime stabilization was done by Specialties Company LLC of Indianapolis.
Compaction was a minimum 93% on every course, which provided the 100% pay factor for intermediate and surface courses. The firm averaged 94% to 95%.
Smoothness was tested with a high-speed profiler and attained an average of below 40 IRI (International Roughness Index). That equates to fewer than 40 inches per mile, with 60 to 70 IRI required to achieve 100% of pay.
Placing a winning pavement
Placement of a super-smooth pavement that garners nearly the entire available bonus is the result of crew training using the right equipment. Training begins with the delivery of the paver, when factory personnel join with the distributor to make sure the customer knows how to use the machine to its best advantage.
"Our crews executed an exceptionally well-done job," says Shelly & Sands' quality control manager, Ed Morrison. "I've been in this business for three decades, and it was a delight to work with all of the crews on this project. They took an assertive role in this high profile job and wanted to do very well.
"I was very pleased at the response of the crews, from the quality control team, to the paving crew, to the screed men, to the plant crew," he continues. "They took ownership of the project and that's key."
"First off you need people who care and who have pride in what they do," says Steve Schlosser, equipment superintendent for Shelly & Sands. "I would say that group out there had that."
The award-winning pavement on Ohio 161 was placed using a Vision 5200-2 10-foot tracked paver from Vögele America Inc. The paver was equipped with a 23-foot paving kit plus Vögele's Niveltronic Plus control system.
Three rollers were used on the project, a 78-inch HD 120 HV for breakdown, a 78-inch high-frequency double-drum roller for intermediate compaction, and an HD O120V compactor combining exclusive Hamm oscillation compaction for finish rolling.
"Typically the oscillation gives us another 1% compaction, even at lower temperatures and materials with a tender zone," Morrison says. "We also don't have to cross our fingers hoping we won't break any aggregate with the oscillation, because when the black turns to white, we have to get off it."
"We have 11 Vögele pavers, more than any other contractor in North America," Schlosser says. "We have five of the new Vision Series models in our fleet, all 5200-2s. The crews had never seen these new pavers before, and we put them in the saddle right out of the chute. You always expect some bugs or problems along the way. Instead we won an award for the good job they did."
"Good paving practices with virtually any machine will get you a result like we had," Morrison says. "But we did not have any downtime with the machine. And we were able to pave on new alignment without traffic issues. In the end, the IRI results proved that good paving practice was used on this project."
The advanced control system worked to optimize placement.
"A big difference was the Niveltronic system," Morrison says. "We got a larger footprint when we went to dual sonic averaging skis of 40-foot-plus [actually 50 foot] length, which helped us watch our longitudinal swales for averaging."
It's essential to have the paving crew knowledgeable about the technology at their fingertips.