Bringing Pavement Design into the Fast Lane
Can you think of a more fitting place to update your pavement knowledge, than at Pit lane of the Townsville V8 supercar circuit? This is just what 20 cadets, technical officers, Engineers, and infrastructure managers and team leaders did just recently.
The participants, from various local government and State Government bodies, understood the benefits that ongoing professional development would have not only for their own benefit, but also for rate payers and taxpayers who expect engineering solutions that provide the best value for money.
The Australian design guide for road pavements has recently undergone its largest technical change in decades. Following several years of research funded by Austroads, some past assumptions that erred on the conservative side were able to be fine-tune, based on new knowledge arising from research and understanding. The axle configurations of the Australian heavy vehicles fleets has changed considerably, and in some parts of Australia far more than others. The new design method now allows for high risk / high budget projects to be designed appropriately, and in the process reducing pavement thickness. Some ‘shift factors’ built into ‘reliability factors’ have also been eased due to better knowledge. This enables designers to reduce pavement thickness enabling construction material costs to be significantly reduced, freeing up funding for additional work. It is this better knowledge that the course attendees were looking for. The Centre for Pavement Education (CPEE), a highly specialist training provider and endorsed by Austroads, were engaged to work directly with the organisers to provide continuing professional development and in-depth understanding of pavement design in the unusual but highly appropriate surrounding.