Measuring, Achieving and Promoting Smoothness of Virginia's Asphalt Overlays

Report No: 99-R19

Published in 1999

About the report:

This study was initiated with the goal of identifying the predominant factors affecting the achievable smoothness of asphalt overlays. In addition, it chronicles the evolution of Virginia's innovative special provision for smoothness, which was developed specifically for maintenance-type resurfacing. It further provides a critical assessment of the non-traditional equipment and methods as used to administer this smoothness special provision. Finally, it includes a rational economic justification for the continued and expanded use of the pilot specification. Among the notable findings relating to achievable ride quality are the identified associations with functional classification, original surface roughness, and the use of the smoothness special provision. Issues that were not found to relate significantly to achieved smoothness include surface mix type, the use of additional structural layers, the use of milling, and time-of-day restrictions on construction activities (i.e., night paving). The dramatic increase in correlation between original and final surface ride quality when milling of the original surface was performed was another interesting finding, as were the additional costs and corresponding additional benefits associated with the use of the special provision.

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.


  • Kevin K. McGhee, P.E.

Last updated: December 12, 2023

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: