Experimental Asphalt Mix

by Diana Barnum
Trying out new equipment can be a lot of fun on the job. But trying out new asphalt mix for paving might not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Or rather should be.
“We’re using SMA (stone matrix asphalt) experimental asphalt mix on State Route 64,” said Jason Yeager, project coordinator for Gohmann Asphalt & Construction, Inc. of Clarksville, Indiana. “It should last longer, hold up better and be more skid resistant. But it’s hard to get by rail and hard to get the mix designs right.”
Gohmann Asphalt is into heavy and highway construction, with the main focus on bituminous hot mix, concrete, earthwork, new bridge construction and repair. They work with a large number of rehabilitation projects involving road, bridge and new developments.
The company’s SMA jobsite is a 10-mile stretch of resurfacing a two-lane highway along S.R. 64. Crews use DynaPack large rollers - the 700-series - with SMA, instead of limestone. They use steel slag hauled in by rail from the Chicago area, but shipments are difficult to coordinate. And the SMA mix is difficult to find. Plus steel slag and mineral filler do not produce dust, so lime dust must also be located and brought in. Normally Gohmann mixes its own asphalt, but on this particular job, SMA is what the state wanted. It was included in the bid specs.
Yeager felt that over time, after mixing several batches, the process would get easier.
Gohmann Asphalt & Construction, Inc. owns and operates six asphalt plants in Indiana and Kentucky, four concrete plants and a limestone quarry in Southern Indiana, a trucking company and a company specializing in commercial, residential and industrial construction projects. The quarry supplies base for their road projects, but not all of the time.
“We’re working on a two-year job, a 12-mile reconstruction in Evansville along I-64,” said Dave Hardin, Gohmann’s chief engineer. “But we’re not using our base. We’re buying local. It is economically feasible to bring in materials from a closer location.”
Equipment at their job sites includes a Cat AP 1055B paver and a DynaPack 501 roller. They use a Komatsu 400 and two Cat 325 excavators for pavement removal and full-deck replacement. A couple of Ingersoll rollers, DD110 and 130’s, also come in handy.
Not only is Gorhmann Asphalt supportive of the advancement of new products like SMA, they are supportive of advancing their employees. Four of Gohmann’s employees are members of the National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC), an international association that promotes and supports the advancement of women in the construction industry.
NAWIC Past President Suzie Kayrouz, receptionist at Gohmann’s, shared some of the events that their NAWIC Louisville Chapter participated in recently.
“We worked with a Block Program and incorporated it with a Girl Scout Troop,” said Kayrouz.
The Block-Kids Building Program is a national competition event, sponsored on the local level by NAWIC chapters and other organizations. It is open to all elementary school children in grades 1- 6 and introduces them to the construction industry to create an awareness of, and to promote an interest in, future careers.
Children compete by constructing a structure with interlocking blocks and three of the following: a small rock, string, foil, and poster board. Local winners advance to Regional competition. One semi-finalist from each region is then entered in the National Program competition. Prizes are awarded to the top three projects.
Other NAWIC activities for the year included a Career Days with an older Girl Scout Troop and a hands-on birdhouse-building workshop for another Girl Scout Troop. The women also volunteered with the Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build, a house built entirely by women. Their volunteer work group put up gutters, cleaned up brush and performed general cleanup on the project.
The NAWIC Louisville Chapter won a regional award for their work with the Girl Scouts.
For more information about NAWIC, contact them at 327 S. Adams St., Fort Worth, TX 76104-1081. Call: (817) 877-5551, or fax inquiries to: (817) 877-0324, or email them at: nawic@nawic.org.
For more information about experimental asphalt, contact Gohmann Asphalt and Construction, Inc., at P. O. Box 2428, Clarksville, IN 47131. Call: (812) 282-1349, or fax inquiries to: (812) 288-2168.