Assessment of the Performance of Several Roadway Mixes under Rain, Snow, and Winter Maintenance Activities

Report No: 04-CR18

Published in 2004

About the report:

The purpose of this study was to assess the relative functional performance, including skid resistance and splash and spray, of five hot-mix-asphalt (HMA) surfaces and a tinned portland cement concrete highway surface during controlled wet and wintry weather events. The study compared the way that these surfaces respond to various deicing and anti-icing snow removal and ice control techniques under artificial wintry conditions. In addition, the splash and spray characteristics of the surfaces during and immediately after rain were also evaluated. The study focused on the surfaces placed within the all-weather testing area at the Virginia Smart Road. The winter maintenance techniques tested include the application of sodium chloride (salt) in granular, pre-wetted, and liquid forms. The snow removal and ice control measures that were used followed the recommendation of the FHWA Project T & E 28 and variations thereof. The experiments to compare the splash and spray characteristics of the mixes were conducted using artificial rain. The study defined and tested a methodology for testing winter maintenance operations under controlled, artificial wintry events. The winter maintenance test results were inconclusive, as the various maintenance treatments were unable to significantly improve the functional condition of the road. Under the temperature and precipitation conditions encountered, there were no significant differences in the performance of the different surface mixes tested. However, conditions encountered did not correspond to conditions normally encountered with natural snow. The researcher concluded that at temperatures at and just below freezing, artificial snow might not be appropriate for evaluating the effectiveness of winter maintenance chemicals. Studies that depend upon imitating the on-road attributes of natural snow, such as testing effectiveness of winter maintenance chemicals, should adhere to the ideal temperature-humidity guidelines for the snowmaking equipment. The open-graded friction course appears to have enhanced spray and splash performance when compared with the dense HMA surface mixes; however, a more objective measure of splash and spray characteristics of the surfaces is needed to quantify the beneficial effect of this type of mixes. No visual difference in performance was observed among the other mixes.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Gerardo W. Flintsch, Daniel S. Roosevelt

Last updated: December 1, 2023

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