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GRAA Winner Profile: Asset Preservation Category
Pacific Coast Highway – South Los Angeles, CA presented by VSS International Inc.
Every year millions of people travel the iconic Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, stretching along the western coastline of California. This is the story of a frequently traveled 22-mile section of Highway 1 stretching through the heart of Los Angeles county from Seal Beach north all the way through Manhattan Beach. This 22-mile section of Highway 1 serves as a vital arterial roadway for the county, carrying more than 70,000 vehicles per day, spanning to a width of 7-8 lanes and consisting of more than 130 lane miles of pavement surface. Moreover, this section of Highway 1 serves as the primary conduit to local oil fields, and one of the largest industrial ports in the world.
The performance and economy of highways is of critical importance to government agencies. VSS International was employed to take a progressive approach of applying a pavement preservation strategy to extend pavement life, improve safety and energy efficiency at reduced price and material recycling.
The treatment chosen for this project was Type III slurry seal. The principal materials used to create a slurry seal are crushed aggregate, asphalt emulsion and fillers, which are mixed on the project site according to a laboratory designed mix. This project was specifically designed with a Type III aggregate, which is coarser allowing for a heavier application rate that can address and correct more severe surface defects and improve the skid resistance.
What set this slurry seal apart from typical slurry seals was the requirement that the materials be placed at night during the cooler coastal conditions, because of the heavy daytime traffic loads on this stretch of highway. VSS International engineered a formulation that met the placement and performance challenges of the project. The finished product was high performance slurry seal material that would allow the product to cure quickly to allow the opening for traffic prior to the start of the morning commute.
The provided solution saved taxpayers more than $30 million compared to a traditional approach, saved time, and caused less inconvenience to the traveling public, by decreasing the number of shifts required to complete the work. It also reduced impact on the environment by decreasing virgin aggregate use by 85 percent and eliminating the need for 100,000 tons of grinding and removal. The slurry seal alternative required 1,500 tons of emulsion, which utilizes much less energy than hot mix, and used 78 percent less liquid asphalt than hot mix.
The project was a huge success. The outcome benefits the local communities, commuters and taxpayers for years to come. It provides for a longer life of the pavement, a smoother ride, a aesthetically pleasing road, and enhanced safety features, all at a fraction of the costs and a reduced use of natural resources.
“Not only is winning this prestigious award a tremendous testimony to the hard working men and women of VSS who performed this work in Los Angeles, we are so grateful to the International Road Federation for recognizing that sustainable pavement preservation techniques play a huge role globally in protecting our planet through the conservation of limited natural resources.”
Senior Vice President
VSS International, Inc.