The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 launched the Interstate system and created a highway infrastructure program unmatched anywhere in the world. The heart of the system was a 41,000-mile highway network connecting major population centers in the United States.
Since the selection of pavement type was done by the states, and the federal government paid 90 percent of the cost, some states continued their preference for concrete. As a result, Institute engineers concentrated their efforts on state highway and consulting engineers. This work paid off with the use of asphalt increasing from 12 million tons in 1950 to 21 million tons in 1959.
With the introduction of Superpave, the Institute became the lead organization for promoting this new technology to state DOT and contractor personnel. The Institute operated the National Asphalt Training Center and trained hundreds of asphalt practitioners to perform Performance Graded (PG) asphalt binder tests and to perform Superpave mix designs.
Today's training efforts
Today, the Asphalt Institute's training efforts take a two-pronged approach. Seminars in the Asphalt Academy series are presented at the Lexington, KY, headquarters and research center. These courses typically feature both classroom and hands-on laboratory sessions. Current AI training offerings include:
- Asphalt Binder Technology Course — This course provides hands-on training modeled after the Institute's Superpave laboratory training courses that were developed as part of the Federal Highway Administration's National Asphalt Training Center (NATC) contract. The course consists of up-to-date laboratory training and lectures on test procedures, calculations and criteria involved with the Superpave binder system.
- HMA Mix Design Technologies Course — Attendees learn about asphalt and aggregate material selection and how they affect mixture properties. Classroom activities include proportioning, volumetric analysis, mixture evaluation and guidelines for the application of different mixture types. Lab activities include aggregate testing, sample preparation and mixture testing.
- Achieving Volumetrics and HMA Compactability — This course teaches the Bailey Method of Gradation Selection, a tool for developing and analyzing blend gradations in the lab and field to better understand aggregate packing and its influence on mix volumetrics and compactability. The course provides insight as to why small gradation changes can cause significant changes to mixture volumetric properties and/or field compactability.
Along with the Asphalt Academy courses, other Institute training efforts occur across the country throughout the year. Airport Pavement Workshops, co-sponsored with the Federal Aviation Administration, are conducted twice per year at various locations. These three-day workshops provide up-to-date information for those designing, constructing and managing asphalt airport pavements. The course includes a review of current specifications, advisory circulars and detailed descriptions of materials, as well as pavement design, construction and preservation practices for airports.
While other courses offered by the Institute range in topics from quality construction to asphalt basics, AI seminars are available to everyone in the asphalt field — not just Institute member companies or state DOT personnel. But overall, the training offered today, as it has been throughout its 85-year-history, fulfills the Institute's mission of sharing information and improving asphalt performance.
For a current schedule of available Institute courses, please visit www.asphaltinstitute.org and select "seminars."
National Associations and Entities
AIC Constructor Certification Commission
Certification is for the practicing constructor in any sector of the construction industry, providing the constructor with formal recognition of the education and experience that defines the constructor as a professional. Constructor certification is a two-step process, involving the testing of basic and advanced construction knowledge through written examinations and verification of professional experience and education.