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INDOT Wins Perpetual Pavement Award

January 2024

INDOT pavement that is 20 years old was named a Perpetual Pavement Award winner by the Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA).

Perpetual pavement is a three-layer, flexible pavement design and construction concept which results in a deep-strength asphalt pavement that can resist structural fatigue distress for at least 50 years. These long-lasting structural bases can be economically maintained by replacing just the thin surface layer without ever needing to embark on total pavement removal and replacement.

From 2002 to 2004, INDOT converted an 11.3-mile section of I-64 – from the Illinois state line to just west of State Road 165 in Posey County – into perpetual pavement. During those three years, INDOT rehabilitated the original roadway, construction in 1968-69 with jointed reinforcement concrete pavement, by rubblizing the existing concrete pavement and overlaying it with 11½ inches of hot-mix asphalt. Rubblization is the process of fracturing worn-out concrete into small pieces and converting it into an interlocked, but flexible, base material.

The road section didn’t receive its first preventative maintenance, an asphalt mill/fill and stone-matrix asphalt overlay, until 2019.

“The goal of that preventative maintenance project was to remove any thermal cracks in the top layer of pavement and seal the pavement structure from water infiltration,” said INDOT Pavement Engineering Manager Kumar Dave, who oversaw both the 2004 and 2019 activities on I-64.

The APA developed the Perpetual Pavement Awards in 2001. The awards include three categories: Perpetual by Performance (a road excelling after at least 35 years), Perpetual by Design (an asphalt road built over new/reconditioned subgrade), and Perpetual by Conversion (an asphalt road constructed over an existing road).

The APA selected INDOT’s I-64 pavement as an awards winner in the Conversion category. The strict award criteria meant that the pavement “must demonstrated the characteristics expected from long-life asphalt pavements, including excellence in design, quality in construction, and value for the traveling public.” Engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology evaluated the nominations and validated the winners.

Previous Award

The “perpetual pavement” concept was first articulated in 2000, but many pavements that were constructed long ago function as perpetual pavements. As a result, the Perpetual Pavement Awards’ Perpetual by Performance category recognizes state DOTs that had the foresight to build pavements according to these principles. In this category, the roads must be at least 35 years old with no structural failure and with an average interval between resurfacing of no less than 13 years.

In 2014, INDOT won its only other Perpetual Pavement Award, in the Performance category, for a 14-mile stretch of U.S. 31 in Fulton and Miami counties. The stretch ranged from one-half mile south of State Road 16 in Miami County to Old U.S. 31 in Fulton County.

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