Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh city skyline

May 11, 2018

Evaluating and Improving Asphalt Pavement in the City of Pittsburgh

Each year, the City of Pittsburgh resurfaces 50-90 miles of urban road, and the roads deteriorate over the years, adding an additional cost to both the City and residents. The ultimate goal of this research is to review the state-of-the-art asphalt pavement development, compare the mix, manufacturing and paving process of asphalt pavement being used in Pittsburgh with neighboring states, and make recommendations on the improvement of the durability of asphalt pavement for the City. This first phase of this research is to conduct thorough literature review of what factors attribute to the asphalt pavement to what degree, and compare the asphalt pavement process among several states in the northeast.

At the completion of this 8-week project, CMU will provide a report that will help the City better understand the state-of-the-art asphalt pavement development, compare the mix, manufacturing and paving process of asphalt pavement being used in Pittsburgh with neighboring states, and make recommendations on the improvement of the durability of asphalt pavement for the City.

Project Update: 

1.      The project team did a full analysis of the asphalt mixtures in  Pittsburgh. The team also did research on Maryland and Virginia to be able to compare pavement practices across the region. This analysis included types of mixture, plant manufacturing process, as well as other pieces of the asphalt development and implementation process. 

2.      The one size fits all asphalt design and mixture that Pittsburgh is currently using is likely making for overspending of material and labor on secondary roads based on smaller traffic volumes. 

3.      The city of Pittsburgh should consider further data collection and experiments to understand the reasons why pavement degradation has occurred over the last decade. 

4.      The Performance Grading selection process that the City of Pittsburgh uses should be altered to look at traffic speed, ESALs range, and rutting history of the pavement

Final Report PDF 

PARTNERS:

Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, City of Pittsburgh

FACULTY:

Sean Qian
Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
seanqian@cmu.edu

STUDENTS:

Rick Grahn
Yuneil Yeo