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The Road Ahead

December 8, 2015  By  Andrew Macklin

December 8, 2015 – When the paving industry looks down the road ahead, it must see roads that are built better and last longer.

That message was abundantly clear during the Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association Fall Asphalt Seminar, attended by over 400 industry professionals from across Ontario and throughout North America.

Presentations made at the annual event focused on the clear goal of the road ahead, looking at what can be done to create better roads in all conditions, regardless of the materials in the ground below or the weather in the skies above.

Two key presentations made during the day-long event showed just how much is being done to improve the quality of pavements in Ontario, laying ground work that could be utilized in other provinces throughout Canada.


From the association perspective, OHMPA President Steve Smith, who is also the Vice-President of Paving and Construction for the Miller Group, updated attendees on the progress made by the recently formed Quality of Asphalt Pavement Task Force. The group set an aggressive timeline for identifying causes of pavement cracking, seen as the primary issue for both contractors and the government entities that own the roads.

The original task force, set up in February of 2015, involved 12 individuals from different aspects of the asphalt industry, including contractors, asphalt producers, R&D interests and association leaders. The first order of business involved an internal audit, which identified three high priority factors:
• Asphalt cement quality and specification
• Increasing the AC content in Superpave mixes
• The responsible use of recycled materials

Once the task force took into consideration the concerns from both the contractor and owner perspective, the group identified a list of 13 possible solutions to the issues presented. With that in mind, the task force has now engaged municipal and provincial partners, bringing them to the table to engage in further consultations with the ultimate goal of creating solutions to improve pavement quality.

From the government perspective, Smith’s presentation was complimented by a presentation from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Pamela Marks, Head of the Bituminous Section. Marks’ presentation focused on the results of the roundtable discussion had with Ministry and industry members in regards to Increasing asphalt cement content in Superpave mixes.

The result of the discussion was 13 potential solutions involving increasing asphalt cement, pavement permeability, use of recycled materials and mixing and compaction temperatures:
1. Fixed AC bid values
2. Higher maximum NINITIAL requirements
3. Use of fine graded mixes
4. Call for minimum AC content
5. Increasing asphalt cement
6. Lowering the design air voids
7. Reducing or capping the design gyration levels
8. Raising VMA requirements
9. Specifying gyration levels depending on binder type
10. Adding a minimum density at NINITIAL gyrations
11. Adding a minimum laboratory permeability requirement
12. Reducing or banning the use of RAP
13. Developing a new methodology for mixing and compaction temperatures

With the goal in mind of producing better quality asphalt pavements, the Ministry is moving forward with further investigation of these potential solutions, keeping in mind the industry challenges that are associated with them.

While some of these solutions will not be implemented, it is clear that, both from a contractor and a government perspective, all stakeholders are prepared to work together to improve the quality of asphalt pavements in the province of Ontario.

To learn more about the presentations at the OHMPA Fall Asphalt Seminar, visit

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