Targeted pavement overlay solutions (TOPS) reduce maintenance, maximize previous investments, and lessen user delays by extending service life of pavement structures.

In 2018, the City of Newton, MA, searched for a solution to restore ride quality to a roadway section while sealing and protecting the underlying pavement. Ultra-thin bonded wearing course (UTBWC), an overlay composed of a heavy-tack application of polymer-modified emulsion, was selected for the roadway treatment. City officials considered UTBWC an environmentally and economically sustainable pavement solution. UTBWC is also known to effectively treat minor rutting and can help slow fatigue cracking.

View of trucks and equipment performing road resurfacing.

A crew places ultra-thin bonded wearing course as an overlay on a road in Newton, Massachusetts. (Source: All States Materials Group)

In 2020, the city completed a trial project to preserve a section of the deteriorating concrete roadway and in 2022, used UTBWC as an overlay over hot in-place recycling. One of the major benefits of UTBWC is how quickly traffic can resume on high-volume roadways. In some instances, the time to reopen was measured in minutes rather than hours.

To learn more about UTBWC or other TOPS applications, please contact TOPS co-team leads Tim Aschenbrener, FHWA Office of Preconstruction, Construction, and Pavements (asphalt) or Robert Conway, FHWA Resource Center (concrete).

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