Monday, June 13, 2011

"Quiet-Pavement" Materials to be Tested on Route 7 Bypass in Leesburg

Governor Bob McDonnell recently signed legislation that could make the constant loud "whoosh" of car and truck tires on the highway a bit quieter after VDOT repaves the driving surfaces of certain high-speed roads. The legislation directs the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to construct several demonstration projects to further study "quiet-pavement" technologies. These projects will help determine how well the new pavements perform over two winters in Virginia.

Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-Fairfax) sponsored HB 2001, which amends the 2009 Virginia law requiring VDOT to consider using pavement materials that reduce tire noise when resurfacing appropriate roads (Code of Virginia § 33.1-223.2:21).

The Quiet Pavement Task Force is a cooperative group consisting of representatives from VDOT and the asphalt and concrete paving industries. The group studies and identifies roads around the Commonwealth that would be candidates for quiet-pavement installations.

VDOT will install five demonstration projects to assess the performance of such materials for two years. They are all on four-lane, divided high-speed roads with good underlying pavement structures.

The three locations selected for the asphalt "quiet" technologies include the Route 7 Bypass in Leesburg.

Following a year-long pilot begun in 2008, VDOT obtained positive results from a quiet-pavement installation on a section of Route 234 in Manassas using a hot-mix asphalt known as "porous friction course," or PFC. This "open-graded mix" allows air and water to seep down from the road surface away from tires. It reduces hydroplaning, tire noise, and splash and spray. The improved drainage also cuts wet-night glare and improves the visibility of road markings.

"VDOT's research arm, the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research, has been a national leader in developing real-world testing scenarios for the latest highway technologies and working with VDOT engineers to implement them for the benefit of all who use Virginia roads," Governor McDonnell said. "These demonstration projects will take results from one recent study and put them to work to make our roads safer and last longer, and to improve the quality of life for those living near the roadways."

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