Hot-mix asphalt is a high-energy drink for Duininck Brothers Inc.
The competitive paving market in Texas can knock anyone on its back. Duininck Brothers, headquartered in Roanoke, has been a steady survivor since 1983. Its one and only key to success seems as plain as the logic behind it: put everything you have into the performance out in the field.
“We really don’t spend a lot of energy trying to survive; we spend all of our energy trying to perform,” General Manager Kyle Duininck told ROADS & BRIDGES. “We perform reliably, and through our experience we seem to avoid a lot of pitfalls.”
Every once in a while you reach a mountain peak. Duininck’s latest crescendo came earlier this year, when it was named the 2003 Sheldon G. Hayes Award recipient for 14 miles of work on the two southbound lanes of U.S. 287 in Wilbarger County, Texas. The National Asphalt Pavement Association honor is considered to be the most prestigious in the asphalt pavement industry. The winner is determined through a two-year process. Highway pavement projects using more than 50,000 tons of hot-mix asphalt (HMA) are eligible for consideration. Initially, projects must win a Quality in Construction (QIC) Award, which is determined by numerical scores given by pavement engineers at the National Center for Asphalt Technology on the basis of how well the contractor met the specifications and achieved density on the finished pavement. All the pavements that meet a benchmark figure are given the QIC award.
The year after a project wins a QIC award it may be considered for the Hayes. The top-ranked jobs are tested for smoothness, then visually inspected by an independent pavement consultant with years of experience in the industry. This year, the evaluators praised the contestants for high-quality construction practices resulting in smooth, safe and durable pavements.
Kyle Duininck knew he was trying to appeal with the masses, but could not ignore the quality results of U.S. 287.
“I know our guys pay a lot of attention to detail and they get professional results,” he said. “But at the same time I just assumed there were 50 other contractors nationwide doing the exact same thing. You always think there’s a more adventurous and spectacular project. But we knew this was a good job, and submitted it for that reason.”
Old ways, new wrinkles
The first set of Duininck Brothers, Henry, Wilbur and Amos, entered a load of ambition and a determined team of mules into the road building business in 1927. The group was successful, but it was six second-generation Duinincks who dotted the family name all over the Midwest map in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. The company was running six portable asphalt plants, with much of the action taking place in Minnesota. The Texas division was planted in 1983, and currently there are three portable plants in the Lone Star State and four up north.
“Our core business in Texas has always been the portable asphalt market. This was true in 1983 and it will continue to be true into the indefinite future. We can go to inhospitable places that many producers won’t or can’t go,” said Kyle Duininck.
The U.S. 287 project, which cost $4.2 million, contained some small patches of new territory, even for Duininck. Two new tests involving joint density and the segregation profile were used, and a sensitive zero-blanking band profilograph checked for smoothness. A coarse friction surface course, carrying a nominal 5?8-in. coarse aggregate and a cellulose fiber, also was a new twist, as was the paving method used for the Superpave mat.
“(The surface course) was one of the first ones we had done with that type of material,” Dave Kosse, general asphalt superintendent for Duininck, told ROADS & BRIDGES. “It was quite simple to pave, but we didn’t know how it was going to go down until we actually got going with it.”
Strengthening a warrior
U.S. 287 really couldn’t afford to be sick. Running between I-30 and I-40, it serves as a substantial east-west corridor. But when Duininck arrived on the scene in June 2001, the 4 in. of asphalt pavement was crumbling to its death. Moisture and heavy truck traffic contributed to the demise.
“It was failing fast,” recalled Kyle Duininck.
A Caterpillar milling machine took off 2-3 in. of existing pavement, and after it was treated with a grade 3 (1?2 in. of material) seal coat crews were ready for the 4 in. of 19 mm Superpave, which consisted of a 3?4-in. stone-filled hot mix and a PG 76-22 asphalt binder.
A Barber Greene portable asphalt plant, located about 1?2 mile offsite in Oklaunion, produced 380-400 tph of Superpave at 325°F. From there, trucks hauled and dumped the mix into a Roadtec 2500 Material Transfer Vehicle which fed a Caterpillar 1000 rubber-tired asphalt paver. A Cedarapids pick-up machine also passed hot mix over to the Cat machine. The laydown temperature was approximately 315°F, and closely tailing the paver were three vibratory rollers—two Dynapac 501 steel drum and a 20-ton rubber-tired Ferguson. According to Kosse, maximum vpm was 2700.
“With Superpave your material has to be hot and your rollers have to be up close,” he said.
Special requirements also came from the Texas Department of Transportation. Duininck could not go less than 21?2 in. thick on the first course. In order to meet the demand, it was decided to reverse the paving pattern. Crews started with the 10-ft outside shoulder, which served as a reference point for the 12-ft-wide driving lane. The driving lane was the guide for the passing lane, which carried a paving width of 16 ft.
“We had to reverse it to maintain the depth,” said Kosse. “The thickness actually varied from 21?2 in. to 5 in.”
The compaction process also was altered to create desired density at the joint. Typically, Duininck runs the vibratory roller 6 in. over on the cold mat to pinch the joint. On this job the roller was 6 in. inside on the hot mat. The action pushed the mix against the joint for a second compactor that conducted the actual pinching. It proved to be a successful maneuver, as joint density readings came in above average. The test involved shooting specific spots designated by TxDOT with a Troxler nuclear gauge, then moving over within 6 in. of the joint and shooting again. Results of the two testing areas had to be within 3 lb of each other, and most were in the 1-2 lb range.
“Once we made the adjustment to pinching the joint a different way the results turned very, very consistent,” Rusty Porter, lab technician for Duininck, told ROADS & BRIDGES. “On the average there was probably a 2-lb difference.”
Porter said lab densities of the Superpave mat were between 95.5 and 97.2%, with air voids falling between 5.1 and 7.6%. Duininck also conducted a drain down test to determine if the asphalt was stripping off the rock at a constant temperature of 300°F. The asphalt content did not vary more than .2% from the design mix, according to Porter.
The segregation profile followed the same basic guidelines as the joint density test. TxDOT marked a spot and Duininck took 12 nuclear gauge shots in 5-ft increments. There could not be more than an 8-lb difference between the highest and lowest reading. Duininck registered an average of 4.5 lb.
After the Superpave portion of the job was complete crews applied the 1-in. coarse friction surface course, which also contained a PF 76-22 asphalt binder. The application process was identical to the one used for the Superpave mat. For compaction, one Dynapac 501 steel-drum roller operating in static mode was used. The job was complete in September 2001.
Smoothness was measured with the zero-blanking band profilograph, a more sensitive version of the traditional California profilograph. Readings averaged between 7-8 in. per 1?10 of a mile.
“When it was all over we thought that this was one of the best we have ever done,” said Kosse. “We were very happy with the results.”
Venture Corp., Northern Ohio Paving Co., Leo Journagan Construction Co. Inc. and Barriere Construction Co. LLC were all named finalists for the 2003 Sheldon G. Hayes Award.
Venture Corp., Great Bend, Kan., was involved in 18 miles of full-depth paving on U.S. 36 in Rawlins County. The company used two 30-ft traveling stringline wheels for the job to achieve smoothness. It received 72% of the maximum smoothness rating.
The Northern Ohio Paving Co., Twinsburg, Ohio, project included the milling and overlay of about 11 miles of eastbound and westbound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike. It required placement of 72,500 tons of HMA to exacting specifications under difficult conditions. The pavement is one of the smoothest ever placed on the Ohio Turnpike, achieving a half-car IRI of 26.03 on average per .05-mile section.
Leo Journagan Construction Co., Springfield, Mo., dropped an overlay of approximately 11 miles of I-44 near Marshfield, Mo. The design and production work on the project enabled the contractor to obtain maximum incentive pay for density, asphalt content, air voids and voids in mineral aggregate.
Barriere Construction Co. LLC executed an overlay of four miles of I-10, Boutte, La. Barriere earned the maximum 5% bonus for early completion and met all density requirements and smoothness specifications for the project.