Arizona's Department of Transportation (ADOT) is trialling the use of a new construction technique to improve both the efficiency and durability of the state's roads.

The new approach to road building, referred to as “intelligent compaction,” involves the use of vibratory rollers equipped with sensitive instrumentation to compile and supply real-time data on the compaction of road materials such as soils, asphalt pavements and aggregate bases.

This data can then be used in tandem with GPS-based mapping and an on-board computer reporting system to enhance road compaction by allow builders to make timely adjustments to the process.

The method promises have a pivotal impact on road construction given the importance of compaction to the overall building process, It will also help to ensure that pavement materials possess level surfaces and even density. Potential benefits including heightened quality control, lower repair costs, and enhanced durability.

intelligent compaction

ADOT will use the technology to conduct spot repairs on a stretch of the I-40 highway situated to the east of Flagstaff during the northern hemisphere’s winter.

The department believes intelligent compaction could dramatically raise the economy and efficiency of road construction, estimating that its usage could reduce the cost of the $15 million I-40 Walnut Canyon to Twin Arrows project by as much as $750,000.

These savings are of critical importance in countries like the United States and Australia, which possess an immense surface area and encompass an extensive network of highways.

“Intelligent compaction is just one way ADOT is incorporating the latest technologies to protect Arizona’s $19 billion transportation system,” said ADOT director John Halikowski.

“Continued use and improvement of intelligent compaction technology will help keep drivers safe, improve the efficiency of the highway system, and allow ADOT to be a high-performing organisation at a time when funding for transportation is limited.”

The outlay for intelligent compaction technology remain considerable, however, incurring an additional cost of between $25,000 to $50,000 for each roller.