Asphalt Project Samples


If you have ever gotten to the end of your project and were prepared to close it out, then see that the once per project sample is needed and all the paving is completed, you understand my frustration – or your sample fails and you're looking for that backup or sample number two and it can't be found.

It is pretty simple; you need one sample for each mix design and asphalt type you use and/or one sample each day after. I have been running projects for over 35 years at the grassroot level as an Area Engineer for TxDOT and now as a Project Manager for Atlas, and I have oversight of the Austin District Overlay program. It sounds simple, but as Forest Gump said, “IT HAPPENS.”

TxDOT now requires the sampling of asphalts per the Asphalt Binder Guide.

The latest version of the Asphalt Binder Inspection and Sampling Guidance document is available online. All the changes are highlighted in the document. The chart below is a quick reference to sampling:

During the COVID outbreak of 2020, samples got lost or not delivered. You end up scrambling to find that one sample that was taken for the project and stored. Luckily, the sampling process was in place to answer the call.

I know to make it a priority in my Pre-Construction and Pre-Pave meeting to make specific reference to the asphalt sampling. I follow up with a one-on-one discussion with my 1B Inspector to check with the plant to make sure a sample is received on the job on the first lot of every mix. As it is received, we develop the 202 and now put a preprinted label on each container like the one used by the Brownwood District in the guide and delivered to MTD that day or the next. All the daily samples are bar coded and sent to the district for storage per the guide.

We have had great success in managing the multiple projects on our plate with no issues to date. As always, the key to a successful project and closeout is the planning and follow through of that plan.



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