Performance of Ultra-Thin Bonded Wearing Course During Winter Events

Ultra-Thin Bonded Wearing Course (UTBWC) pavement surfacing was introduced in some states back in mid 1990s under the brand name, “NovaChip”. It was developed as a preventative maintenance option to extend pavement life by placing a thin open/gap-graded hot mix asphalt (HMA) lift over a polymer-modified asphalt emulsion. The open/gap-graded aggregate also provides superior safety benefits under wet pavement conditions. Despite successful use in northern climates such as Vermont and Minnesota, anecdotal feedback indicates severe icing occurs on some UTBWC surfaces in Maryland during winter storms, and that current salting practices may be insufficient. Similar concerns have been identified by other states, and thus safety benefits under snow and ice conditions recently have been in question. However, other UTBWC locations seem to have no issues. Thus, research is needed to determine how prevalent the problem is in Maryland, to assess the performance difference of UTBWC surfaces compared to adjacent non-UTBWC surfaces, and whether any issue is dependent on precipitation type, rate of fall or volume, and how volume of salt or other treatment affects performance.


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    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $135900
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration

      707 North Calvert Street
      Baltimore, MD  United States  21202
    • Managing Organizations:

      Maryland Department of Transportation

      State Highway Administration, Office of Policy and Research
      707 North Calvert Street
      Baltimore, MD  United States  21202
    • Project Managers:

      Herrera Riggs, Saskia

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Maryland College Park, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    • Principal Investigators:

      Goulias, Dimitrios

    • Start Date: 20220202
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230831
    • Actual Completion Date: 20230630

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01866356
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Maryland State Highway Administration
    • Contract Numbers: SPR22B4D
    • Files: RIP
    • Created Date: Dec 1 2022 10:53AM