Thin Roads: New TTI Paving Innovation

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COLLEGE STATION To the naked eye, it looks like an ordinary road, but it's anything but that. These roads are safer, more cost effective and longer lasting.

"We're talking about big bucks here," said Tom Scullion with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Years of testing has led to this groundbreaking discovery for TTI and the Texas Department of Transportation.

"These are the new black top surfacings we're talking about," Scullion said.

He's is manager of TTI's Flexible Pavements Program. He said they have come up with a new mix of pavement that is starting to spread throughout Brazos County as well as nationally.

"We want these roads to last longer than the traditional mixes, so this is all to do with saving money," Scullion said.

To make sure roads will last, the mixes have performance tests they have to pass before the thin pavement is laid down.

"It has to be rut resistant and it has to be crack resistant," Scullion said. Brentwood Drive in College Station was just repaved several weeks ago and so far, researchers are pleased with the results.

Although these mixes cost a little more to make than traditional pavement, less is used since it is only one inch thick. He said this saves this saves the city and county a lot of money.

"We can make it cheaper," Scullion said. "We can actually put these thin overlays on top, so you don't have to do all that up front repair work before you put a new surface on the road." He also said this new pavement is much safer because of the tough rocks in the mix have excellent grip with the tires, but all of the work and research is worth the effort.

"We're just trying to improve the quality of life a little bit," Scullion said.