Recently, Dr. John Kevern’s proposal entitled “Evaluation of Penetrating Sealers Applied to Saw Cut Faces in Concrete Pavement Joints” was approved for funding by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation policy research program. Dr. Kevern shared more about his proposal and how he got involved with this project.
Tell us more about the project.
For the last six years, the WisDOT, as part of the high-performance concrete (HPC) pavement standard special provision, has specified the use of a penetrating concrete sealer be applied to the saw cut faces in the joints. The HPC pavements on the Interstate 94 North-South corridor and the Interstate 41 corridor from Oshkosh to Green Bay have received this joint treatment. The specification requires a silane or siloxane-based concrete penetrating sealer be applied as soon as possible after the sawing operation is complete. To date, a variety of different products have been used, a number of different application methods have been employed, and the rates of application have been variable. In addition, the construction process and the construction inspection have not been uniform or consistent statewide. Therefore, there is no assurance that WisDOT is accomplishing the goal of distress free joints and longer life of the pavement. Finally, there has been no assessment by WisDOT on whether there are benefits and cost effectiveness to doing this work. The goals of this project are to (1) evaluate the concrete sealers used to date and the construction methods employed to determine if the achievement of sealing concrete pavement saw cut faces is accomplished with effectiveness and uniformity; (2) Assess the work done to date to determine if we are achieving the goal of longer lasting concrete pavement joints; and (3) Develop standard specification language for applying penetrating sealers to concrete pavement saw cuts along with construction inspection guidelines.
How did you get connected to this project?
I currently have a research project with the Wisconsin DOT on a related topic. We are partnering for this project with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville which is where I did my undergraduate degree.
Why did those sections of the interstate receive the joint treatment?
The highly traveled sections of the interstate in Wisconsin are constructed using high performance pavement. In essence they spend a little bit more money to hopefully get longer service life. Along with better pavement quality the DOT has been applying a super hydrophobic water proofing material.
Who is funding the research?
The Wisconsin Highway Research Program (WHRP), basically the research side of the DOT.
Is the goal of the project to determine the best method and sealer for these joints and make that a best practice for the state? For the country?
The primary goal is to evaluate if the state of Wisconsin is getting better service using the water proofing coatings. We will be evaluating different kinds and application techniques. The research will be distributed and although the state of Wisconsin is funding the work, all states will benefit.
Best-case scenario, how much time could these improvements add to the lifespan of concrete pavements?
Best case scenario they will double the lifespan of concrete pavement.