The Fulton Road Improvements Project

Simply stated, Roller-Compacted Concrete (RCC) is a specialized concrete mixture that is compacted with rollers. RCC pavement delivers the high-durability and near-zero maintenance-cost advantages of concrete while employing a construction method similar to asphalt. As with traditional long-life concrete pavement, RCC pavement has a lifespan of more than 50 years, and boasts high strength with the ability to withstand heavy loads in high traffic areas.

The City of Santa Rosa is currently using RCC pavement on its Fulton Road Improvements Project, a reconstruction effort that’s widening and rehabilitating one mile of Fulton Road, between Guerneville Road and Piner Road. When completed, the new roadway will feature four travel lanes, a new median, Class II bicycle lanes, expanded ADA-accessible sidewalks, improved stormwater drainage facilities, plus enhanced aesthetics with drought-tolerant plantings. This section of Fulton Road serves Piner High School, a shopping center, and is enroute to more than half a dozen Sonoma County wineries.

RCC hardens quickly, allowing light vehicle traffic often after just one hour.

Nathan Forrest, Technical Director of the California Nevada Cement Association (CNCA) and Clay Slocum, CNCA’s Director of Engineering, are on the Fulton Road Improvements Project Team. “We’re excited to be partnered with Vanguard Construction on this project,” Nathan expressed, “working together, alongside the great team at the City of Santa Rosa.”

Freshly placed RCC, left, next to an earlier placed lane that easily bears the weight of construction vehicles.

They tested two different mix designs, evaluated different rolling patterns and surface trowelling methods, and also conducted training for the contractor, Vanguard Construction, and staff from the City of Santa Rosa.

“The mix design allows the RCC Pavement to handle light vehicles within an hour, and be opened to heavy traffic within three days or less, without using any special additives or cement types,” Nathan continued. “The carbon footprint of this mix is extremely low, using a 50/50 blend of cement/slag, as well as a lower cementitious content than is found in conventional concrete.”

Another benefit of Roller-Compacted Concrete Pavement is its low carbon footprint thanks to a blend of 50/50 cement and slag.

CEMEX is also involved in the project, beyond just supplying the materials. “We are working closely to monitor performance of the mix,” stated Corey Zollinger, CEMEX’s Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions. We are using a well-graded, optimized aggregate/sand mix, as well as cement and slag. The water content was determined based on the modified proctor optimum moisture relationship,” Corey added. “The surface trowelling is made possible through the use of a finishing aid, ACEiT Blue.”

The crew applies the cure, above in white on the new concrete pavement, essential due to the low water content of the concrete mix. The lower portion shows how the new pavement looks after the finishing aid, ACEiT Blue, is applied and troweled in.

Construction began in July 2022 and is scheduled to complete in spring 2024. On May 1st, Vanguard Construction started up their Vogele Super 2100 TP2 screed paver and began placing the 8”- to 9”-RCC pavement pictured in this article.

Before initiating this project, the City of Santa Rosa ran a Life Cycle Cost Analysis, and found that RCC costs less than asphalt and is also an excellent solution for their main arterials, as well as some of their shallow utility applications.

Initial Strength Testing Results Are In

The Fulton Road RCC was required to reach 3,000 psi in three days. It achieved that and more. Three-day breaks are currently averaging between 3,500 psi and 4,200 psi, with 28-day breaks at 8,100 psi.

Coming Soon: Tuesday, September 19th

Advances in RCC – The Fulton Road ProjectThe SWCPA Concrete Pavement Workshop

Join us on the third Tuesday of September to talk with Corey Zollinger and Michael Smith of CEMEX, and Nathan Forrest and Clay Slocum of the California Nevada Cement Association as we dive deep into this new Roller-Compacted Concrete project in Santa Rosa and bring you the latest on its progress and achievements. Register for the no-cost workshop here: