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Specifications


Clear, unambiguous specifications are the first step to successful asphalt pavement construction.
Clear, unambiguous specifications are the first step to successful asphalt pavement construction. Essentially, specifications provide the general information necessary to build asphalt pavements, forming the basis on which contractors bid and build. They are an essential part of the contract between the agency (the city or county) and the contractor. 

The specifications should encompass the methods of acceptance for materials and the expectations for construction operations. The agency should also provide roadway plans and special provisions including the detailed information necessary for a specific project. Most of the time, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) specifies Items 340 (Dense Graded Hot Mix Asphalt (Small Quantities) and 341 (Dense Graded Hot Mix Asphalt) for local roads and Item 340 for projects utilizing less than 5,000 tons of hot mix.

In addition to providing detailed specifications, the agency is also responsible for providing project oversight which consists of pre-construction and pre-paving meetings, periodic inspections and monitoring, and response to inquiries from the contractor. Once the agency selects the winning bid, a pre-construction meeting should take place. The pre-construction meeting covers all aspects of the project including paving. It provides the contractor and agency the opportunity to discuss the schedule, sequencing, and contingencies, and resolve discrepancies. 

During the work, the agency needs to conduct some level of inspection and testing. This work is sometimes contracted out to a testing laboratory. Regardless of who performs the service, samples must be taken and tested promptly, and the results provided to the contractor with feedback. The agency should always retain the right to sample material at any time during the project and act on the results. While the specifications start from the assumption of proper pavement design, this is not always the case. Knowing which design features are essential for good performance is vital.

Key Takeaways

  • Clear, unambiguous specifications are the first step to successful asphalt pavement construction. 
  • The specifications should encompass the methods of acceptance for materials and the expectations for construction operations.  
  • In addition to providing detailed specifications, the agency is responsible for providing project oversight.
  • During the work, the agency needs to conduct some level of inspection and testing.  

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