Road builders in Ontario have their hands full, as a series of trials and regulatory changes are forcing contractors to make several adjustments in 2012.
The Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association hosted its annual Partners in Quality Seminars in Toronto, London, Ottawa, and Sudbury in May, highlighting the latest news and developments from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the OHMPA, the Ontario Good Roads Association and the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories.
The full-day sessions are aimed at informing contractors about the newest developments that will affect road paving projects in the province of Ontario. That includes information on the review of previous trials, a look at the changes affecting the 2012 paving season, and a consideration of what lies ahead in 2013 and beyond.
One of the biggest trials held by MTO in 2011 was Asphalt Cement Characterization, in which 33 contracts were selected to include one of three initiatives: lower low temperature PR grade specified, extended BBR and DENT acceptance criteria, and MSCR acceptance criteria. The data collected through each initiative has resulted in adjusted standards for 2012. Various versions of SP 111S09 will be in contracts. Modified grades, excluding PG 58-28 and 52-34, will now have to meet DENT acceptance criteria, MSCR acceptance criteria and Extended Bending Beam Rheometer for data collection.
The MTO held additional trials that will result in further studies, and increased usage of new technologies, on roads across Ontario in 2012. Following is a rundown of the trials:
- The use of grit spreading on SMA projects will increase to at least seven projects this year.
- Work has resumed on the testing of RMA on Ontario roads, both wet-terminal and wet-field blends. Additional trials will be held over the next two years on built warm mix RMA sections using wet-terminal blend.
- The success of WMA on Ontario roads resulted in about 230,000 tonnes of the mix being used on MTO projects in 2011. As a result, the MTO has concluded WMA trials, and is developing permissive specification that will allow contractors to bid either WMA or HMA.
- Smoothness tests involving High Speed Inertial Profilers and ProVal software have resulted in a review of past contract data and recommendations on revisions to smoothness specifications. MTO will now be using high-speed profilers for all new contracts in Ontario that meet smoothness warrants.
Finding ways to improve the quality of longitudinal joints was a primary area of discussion, with presentations from both the MTO and OHMPA on the subject. For pavers in Ontario, the MTO has created a set of performance specifications that is the subject of a trial on eight to 10 contracts that have a five-year warranty included. The specifications allow the contractor to construct the joints in whatever way they choose, with the width of cracks along the joints being met with a set repair criteria. The MTO is also recommending the use of echelon paving when possible.
Looking ahead to 2013, concerns continue surrounding the impact of the implementation of the Toxic Reduction Act for companies that already have to report to the NPRI. OHMPA Environmental Committee Chairman Bruce Armstrong provided details of the Act, which will force plant owners to track and quantify the toxic substances they use, create, and release, as well as develop plans to reduce the use of those substances. With the estimated cost of reporting and planning in the tens of thousands of dollars, the OHMPA has created industry partnerships to help companies with the accounting, reporting and planning provisions of the Act in a cost-effective manner.
With the MTO’s continued investment in trial solutions to make the quality of Ontario’s roads that much stronger, the paving industry continues to have to make adjustments to its operations to meet contractual demands. For more information on the Partners in Quality event, or for additional information on some of the other sessions held, visit www.ohmpa.org.