What is Ultra Thin Asphalt? How does it Save Owners Money?

Ultra Thin Asphalt (UTBWC or UBAWS) has become increasingly popular in Missouri and surrounding States within subdivisions, Municipalities, & DOT’s recently. Questions have risen about what exactly Ultra Thin Asphalt is and we are here to hopefully answer your questions.

West Contracting is a leader in the Midwest of installing this new asphalt technology being the first in Missouri to have purchased a Bondtekk paving machine. West Contracting now travels the Midwest installing Ultra Thin Bonded wearing Course Asphalt. Our Ultra Thin Asphalt Crew is equipped to travel to Indiana, Oklahoma, Illinois, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Tennessee, & Kentucky.

Ultra Thin Asphalt is a hot mix asphalt installed with a specialized asphalt paving machine. This machine is called a Bondtekk machine, developed by Road Science. It installs ‘bonded pavements” which allow for superior asphalt strength of pavements and longer life spans in thinner asphalt layers.

This is made possible because the Bondtekk paving machine is a tack truck and paving machine all in one! The tack which bonds the hot mix asphalt to the existing concrete or asphalt surface is installed at a heavier rate approximately 18” in front of the hot mix asphalt achieving truly superior bond strength between new asphalt and the old roadway surface. The greater the bond the longer life span of the new asphalt.

The tack used in this technology to bond the new and old pavements is a polymer modified tack (an extremely strong bonding agent), much stronger than conventional tack coats on traditional 2” roadway overlay. The asphalt mix designs for Ultra Thin Asphalt is also a unique mix. It incorporates a combination of trap rock and limestone, two of the hardest strongest aggregates creating and extremely durable asphalt surface. With the combination of enhanced tack coat and superior asphalt mix design the ability to install thinner lifts of ½” to 7/8” is possible through the specialized Bondtekk machine. Thinner Asphalt = Less cost!

Asphalt installation of ½” to 7/8” allows for additional cost savings originally associated with traditional asphalt overlays. A traditional overlay of typically 2” often requires milling (asphalt removal) to keep the curb height along of the edges of the pavement and so that the drainage of water is not impacted at driveways, intersections, and sewers. Ultra Thin asphalt requires minimum milling if any! This is a significant cost savings!

Another added benefit of Ultra Thin Bonded Asphalt is a smaller Work Zone and minimized traffic delays to drivers. Without a tack truck ahead of the paving crew several hundred yards the work zone is significantly shorter, meaning shorter delays to drivers. Also once the Ultra Thin Asphalt is rolled it can be immediately opened up to traffic! No down time waiting for the mix to cool and finish rolling it as with typical asphalt pavement installations! This saves hours of road closures!

Bonded Asphalt is a technology that has proven its significance and value to the asphalt industry. DOT’s, Municipalities, and Private Trusteeships have all been impacted financially and need to find smarter more cost efficient ways to maintain their existing roadways.  Ultra Thin Asphalt is often the answer! If you would like more information or to find out if bonded pavements are suitable for your existing asphalt or concrete roadways give us a call.

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