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Pavement summit tackles tough transportation challenges



Anchorage, Alaska—The 2011 Alaska Asphalt Pavement Summit, slated for Oct. 31-Nov. 1 in Anchorage, will bring nearly 300 transportation professionals from around the world to discuss ways to make pavement last longer and cost less in Alaska and other cold regions.

Few places in the United States pose the unique combination of transportation challenges: permafrost, frozen ground, extreme ice and moisture erosion, and rapid surface deterioration due to harsh climates.

Attendees and presenters include highly-specialized state and international specialists: engineers, planners, researchers and leaders from government, academia and private industry in Alaska, the Lower 48 and countries dealing with similar cold-climate issues.

“This event is about leveraging the diverse expertise of many different fields to try and solve our pavement preservation challenges,” said Billy Connor, director of the Alaska University Transportation Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Northern Engineering.

The event will take place in the third-floor ballroom at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage from 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday. Oct. 31 and 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Presentations will address topics such as methods of making stronger warm mix asphalt, recycled asphalt applications and the use of thermal imaging on the Seward Highway. Innovations like these are helping improve asphalt in ways that help save money and protect the environment. In Alaska, for example, warm-mix asphalt requires less fuel for production and creates lower emissions than hot-mix.

“Together we can figure out how to make longer-lasting pavement to reduce maintenance costs, and improve safety,” says Angela Parsons, research and development engineer for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

The State of Alaska spends up to $140 million a year on surface maintenance. That figure does not include the money local governments spend on their roads. On average, Alaskans drive up to 4.9 billion miles per year, an average of 7,600 miles per person each year. AUTC studies estimate that every dollar not spent on road maintenance costs the public three dollars due to things like vehicle damage and maintenance, insurance claims and increased premiums, and wasted gas from congestion.

“With asphalt in Alaska, the dollar you spend today on maintenance is ten dollars you will save down the road on repairs, replacement, or safety issues,” said Mike Coffey, statewide maintenance and operations chief for DOT&PF.

The summit’s primary sponsors are the Alaska University Transportation Center and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

An event agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/AUTCpavement.

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