The Asphalt Institute announced today that the FY05 Transportation Appropriations Bill passed by Congress and pending presidential approval provides $500,000 for a joint research project between the Asphalt Institute and the Kentucky Transportation Center (KTC) at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering to study the relationship between good pavement construction practices and the long-term durability of asphalt pavements.
The study is in response to a stated research need identified nationally by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Research. Though the research need was submitted by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the pending study results will benefit local, state and federal transportation agencies nationwide.
“The Asphalt Institute and KTC jointly identified this study as an important project that would offer long-term benefits for the tax-paying consumer through improved roadways,” said Pete Grass, president of the Lexington-based Asphalt Institute. “This will be an applied research study that will produce results that can be practically and directly used at all levels of the road transportation system.”
In response to the lack of research funds to solve this problem, early in 2004 Grass and KTC Director Paul Toussaint approached Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning about opportunities for funding this research. Both Bunning and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell supported the need for this study and saw a solution in the combined resources of the two organizations.
“Sen. Bunning and Sen. McConnell recognized the Asphalt Institute’s 85-year heritage of asphalt research and desire to develop a stronger relationship with the Kentucky Transportation Center,” said Toussaint. “Our Kentucky delegation championed this study proposal in Washington, and as a result, the state of Kentucky will be using its resources to improve our nation’s roadways.”
In 1919, there were only a few hundred thousand cars in America and the number of paved road miles was even less. Today the majority of American roads are paved with asphalt, and the growth of those paved roads is due in large part to the decades of work by the Asphalt Institute.
This year, the Asphalt Institute celebrates its 85th anniversary and 15th year headquartered in Lexington, Ky., as the leading resource for promoting the benefits and use of liquid asphalt through engineering, research, and education. The Kentucky Transportation Center, located on the campus of the University of Kentucky, provides services to the transportation community through research, technology transfer, and education. KTC also promotes safe and effective transportation systems (www.ktc.uky.edu).
The Asphalt Institute is a U.S.-based non-profit trade association of international petroleum asphalt/bitumen producers, manufacturers and affiliated business. Its mission is to promote the use, benefits, and quality performance of petroleum asphalt, through environmental, marketing, research, engineering and technical development, and through the resolution of issues affecting the industry. For more information, visit www.asphaltinstitute.org.