Friday, October 5, 2012

Superpave Pilot Project Changes I

I've now had the opportunity to listen to Joe Peterson of Caltrans speak twice about the changes that will be appearing with the Superpave pilot specifications and I can tell you that there are A LOT of major changes coming about, not only for laboratories but for asphalt plants and paving crews as well.  Because of the shear  volume of information I will breaking down the major changes into multiple posts over the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned because no matter what your relationship with Superpave is going to be, you'll want to be aware of these things as you start to look at your budgets for 2013 and 2014.



  • There are already approximately 6 pilot projects either completed or in the process of being built across the state.  


  • There will be 12-16 pilot projects for sure, but Joe believed that it was more like 25 at this point.


  • Full implementation.  Starting in January all new Caltrans jobs will be specified as Superpave.


  • There are new JMF forms that can be found on the Caltrans website here.  They are labeled the same except that there is an SP at the end, ex: CEM-3511SP
  • Caltrans is switching from Total Weight of Aggregate (TWA) to Total Weight of Mix (TWM).  This means that your paperwork will get a little confusing since some of your jobs will be TWA and some will be TWM.  Its recommended that you document both binder contents on your paperwork to eliminate confusion.  There is a worksheet on how to convert TWA to TWM and back here.


  • It is now required that the contractor takes a minimum of 2 cores per paving day for the contractor’s information in addition to the 1 core every 250 tons that is currently required for Caltrans. 
  • The contractor must now also take nuclear density readings on the grade (3 per 250 tons) for their own information.  This information will not need to be shared with Caltrans but the inspector will be verifying that you are using the gauge.  This is to encourage ALL contractors to utilize density information during the paving of the job so problems can be fixed early.  Currently only some contractors do this and since they have the added costs of a technician and gauge, they are at an economic disadvantage during bid time.  This will level the playing field.
  • Although Caltrans had previously stopped certifying technicians in CT 375-In Place Density and Relative Compaction of Asphalt Concrete Pavement, it will resume certifying technicians if you have a Superpave job and are interested in having the certification to prove your credibility.  A certification in CT 375 is not required though since the data is for your own use, not for Caltrans.

Our next post will address the changes that will affect the operations group at hot mix asphalt production plants.  Please feel free to comment and discuss the changes on our Superpave discussion forum here

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