Smooth Act of Congress

March 29, 2007

In the rarefied atmosphere of the nation’s capital, Washington movers and shakers often have a bumpy ride passing bills, making laws and keeping voters happy. Literally, as well as figuratively, they regularly get their teeth rattled even in their smooth-riding limos due to horrific street conditions.

In the rarefied atmosphere of the nation’s capital, Washington movers and shakers often have a bumpy ride passing bills, making laws and keeping voters happy. Literally, as well as figuratively, they regularly get their teeth rattled even in their smooth-riding limos due to horrific street conditions.

So when a busy intersection in Washington, D.C., needed repairs in 2001, Fort Myer Construction Corp. came to the rescue. Fort Myer repaved the 15th Street and Constitution Ave. intersection in Washington, D.C., which is flanked by the Washington Monument and the Commerce Department building. Though the road was only five years old, it had suffered damage due to the heavy truck traffic in that area. The road had deep ruts and suspension-destroying potholes.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) directed the project. Jorge Alvarez, project engineer, noted that the road surface had nearly 3 in. of ruts. FHWA wanted to test the polymer-modified asphalt provided by Citgo to see how it would hold up under such heavy loads.

For the project, Fort Myer used PG 76-22 CitgoFlex SP polymer-modified asphalt. This Performance Grade (PG) designation is used by the Superpave hot-mix asphalt design system to specify asphalt used in high stress pavements. First, the crew covered the roadway with two 4-in. layers of Superpave 25-mm base mix. Then they added a 2-in. surface of 12.5-mm Superpave mix. All of the mixes contained CitgoFlex SP.

“This was the first time Superpave and CitgoFlex SP were used in D.C.,” said Ron Corun, technical support manager for Citgo Asphalt. “Hopefully, it won’t be the last.”

For this specific application at 15th and Constitution Ave., though, it may indeed be the last as Corun revisited the site recently and found the application more than holding its own as it continues to be virtually rut free after four years of heavy service.

After all, even the nation’s politicians deserve a smooth ride some of the time.