Asphalt Engineer’s Workshop

Engineers employed by state highway agencies play a critical part in ensuring the quality of our roads and the safety of the traveling public. Staff turnover in agencies across the nation creates a challenge of keeping knowledgeable people in these specialized roles, which becomes exacerbated by increased demands to keep pace with changes in technology. Even once a new engineer has a foundation, gaining more in-depth knowledge can be difficult.

NCAT makes it easy for agency engineers to develop a deeper understanding of designing, building, and maintaining asphalt pavements through the Asphalt Engineer’s Workshop. This week-long immersive course is free for public agency engineers and is scheduled February 10-14, 2020 at NCAT’s main research and training facility in Auburn, Alabama.

Participants will learn different aspects of pavement engineering from design and materials selection to the preservation and rehabilitation of asphalt pavements. Attendees will observe laboratory test demonstrations and tour the Lee Road 159 Pavement Preservation Study test sections. Trouble-shooting discussions will help participants apply what they have learned with the real-world problems they may encounter in their jurisdictions.

Topics covered include:

  • - Pavement design—lessons learned from the AASHO Road Test, traffic loading, pavement design formulas, Pavement ME design basics
  • - Asphalt materials—asphalt binders, binder grades and how they react to vehicle loading, aggregate gradations, testing of aggregates, and the use of recycled materials in asphalt mixtures
  • - Mix design—Superpave mix design and volumetric calculations
  • - Plant production—batch plants, continuous-mix drum plants, and quality control and assurance processes recommended for producing quality asphalt mixtures
  • - Performance testing—primary forms of pavement distress and laboratory tests used to predict field performance
  • - Balanced mix design (BMD)—overview, test options,  and potential challenges and strategies for successful implementation
  • - Paving operations—surface preparation for both new and existing pavements, milling, tack coat best practices, mix delivery, paver operations, rollers and compaction, and field tests
  • - Pavement performance—distress identification, pavement ratings, performance curves, and pavement management systems
  • - Pavement preservation and rehabilitation—preservation treatment options for extending pavement life, repair of damaged areas, and structural rehabilitation.

Register soon, as class size is limited to 24 participants. The course is expected to be offered at NCAT every two years, and agencies can also host the course. Both Washington and Georgia Departments of Transportation have taken advantage of this opportunity, allowing more than 20 engineers to gain the same in-depth training at one time. Details are available at

For more information about this article, please contact Travis Walbeck.