Through the FHWA Every Day Counts (EDC) program, Caltrans is getting smarter about designing and building concrete overlays. On Tuesday, May 16th, FHWA’s Robert Conway, Caltrans’ Dulce Rufino Feldman, CP Tech Center’s Leif Wathne, SWCPA’s Charles Stuart, and Jerry Voigt from Square One Pavement Consulting joined together to educate a workshop audience of Caltrans and Industry professionals at the Caltrans Southern Regional Laboratory in Fontana, California.

Robert Conway, FHWA

Bob Conway, FHWA presenting at the workshop. Photo courtesy of Leif Wathne

Caltrans is implementing the two-year Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions initiative – a part of the EDC program, to further standardize their use of concrete overlays. Although Caltrans began building concrete overlays for interstate pavement back in the 1990s, the state-of-the-practice has evolved and there are new designs that could be implemented in Caltrans plans, specifications, and design guidance.

“It’s time to add these tools to our pavement design toolbox,” stated Charles Stuart, Executive Director of the Southwest Concrete Pavement Association. “Through education sessions like this workshop, we can better understand that concrete overlays come in many shapes and sizes, and we can clearly see strong economic, environmental, and resiliency benefits.”

Drawing from their many years of experience with concrete overlays, Robert Conway and Jerry Voigt kicked off the workshop with knowledgeable, insightful, and illuminating presentations. The subsequent discussions were lively and engaging among the participants who brought many project examples into the conversations.

Some of the other presentations featured: Project Selection; Cost Considerations; Plans and Specifications; Materials and Testing; Construction Practices; Deployment Strategies; and an overview of past California concrete overlay projects.

This concrete overlay of asphalt project on State Route 247 near Lucerne Valley was constructed in 2019. Photo courtesy of SWCPA.

Participant engagement continued well beyond the workshop conclusion, with conversations on the topic of overlays continuing for hours afterwards. On the following day, Wednesday, May 17th, a small group traveled to State Route 247 near Lucerne Valley to conduct a site visit at the location of a concrete overlay of asphalt project that was constructed in 2019.

FHWA has assigned a high priority to the implementation of concrete overlays. For designers and engineers looking at a future concrete overlay project, expert level support is available through FHWA, the CP Tech Center (Concrete Pavement Technology Center), the Caltrans Pavement Program, and SWCPA.