Asphalt Paving, Aggregates, Concrete, Vernal, Utah: Highway 40; Vernal Main Street to Naples

July 23, 2015


Owner: Utah Department of Transportation

General Contractor: Burdick Materials

Completion Date: August 2012

Location: Vernal

This challenging project is located in a very congested, downtown area. Burdick Materials’ first priority was safety, and the project was completed without any incidents.  Because of the project’s location, it was also challenging to determine how to best minimize impact to the communities and business along the route.  The company met with local businesses to provide an aerial map and address questions or concerns about the construction and maintaining business access. This was the first time a highway contractor had made an effort to partner with the public and local businesses and provide them a forum to ask questions and express concerns prior to starting construction.

The second main challenge was the construction of two concrete intersections.  Both intersection are in downtown Vernal and highly congested.  The project specification required that each intersection be completed in 21 calendar days and that at least two lanes of traffic be open at all times along US-40.  Prior to starting the work on the intersections, several coordination/planning meetings were held with the managing engineer, concrete subcontractor and Burdick Materials’ project management team.  As a result, the first intersection was completed in 16 days.  The team applied the lessons learned from the first intersection and was able to complete the second intersection in 13 days.  Due to careful planning and coordination with all involved, the impact to the traveling public and adjacent businesses was significantly reduced.

The third challenge was the paving fabric discovered in the existing pavement which was to be rotomilled and recycled in the new pavement.  The fabric posed a couple of problems.  First, the milling and paving operation’s production was slowed due to excessive cleanup.  Second, the fabric started plugging the feed being used to recycle the existing pavement, making it impossible to use the recycled asphalt pavement in the mix.  Rather than building a new mix design, which would have delayed the project two weeks and added significant costs to the project, Burdick Materials, Civco Engineering and UDOT worked together to quickly find a solution that worked for everyone.

Because of the heavy truck traffic along US-40, the project was designed with a Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA) and is the first asphalt paving project in the Uintah Basin to utilize SMA.  SMA design creates stone-on-stone contact that increases its strength versus conventional dense graded mixes, which improves the rut resistance of the pavement.  The high rut resistance of SMA gives it a longer service life than dense grade mixes.  SMA mixes are also more resistant to cracking and raveling due to the higher liquid asphalt content.  Apart from these performance improvements, SMA has been shown to improve frictional resistance, improve visibility and reduce noise when compared to typical dense grade mixes.

Project quantities include:

  • 40,500 tons ¾ hot mix asphalt
  • 23,000 tons ½ stone matrix asphalt
  • 7,100 square yards concrete pavement

This project was recognized by the Associated General Contractors as the Rural Highway Project of the Year.