Paving The Way For Safer Roads

The nation's top transportation research official took a ride around Auburn Universities test track for asphalt technology today. Asphalt mixes developed at AU are being used across the nation to make your drive safer and save you money.

When we think of building better technology, many of us don't think of asphalt. However, advances are being made every day that can keep us all safer on the roads, especially in rainy weather like we had on Wednesday.

Because of the rain, Buzz Powell couldn't have asked for a better day to drive the Nation's top transportation researcher, John Bobo, around the Auburn's test track.

"This is a great visual aide for us cause we have numerous mixes that are designed to keep water out of that pavement and maximize safety," said Powell.

Bobo said the test track is one of the premier testing facilities in the country. He was most impressed with the way some of the mixes were designed to handle water.

"We've all experienced trying to pass a truck in the rain there is almost so much water being kicked up by an 18-wheeler you feel like you get a moment of blindness, but out here we saw incredible technology being used in pavement that absorbs that water so it's not thrown on the windshield and that's safety for everyone," Bobo said.

The AU test track has partnered with 12 states to research and develop experimental asphalt mixes, then test them on out.

"Since 2000 our fleet has driven approximately 3 and a half million miles over the course of damaging the experimental pavements," said Powell.

Along with safety, the new mixes aim at making the roads faster to re-pave. That makes it easier for work crews to get out on the road, do their paving and then get out of the way. For drivers, it cuts down on the amount of time they have to deal with the frustration of road construction.