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FHWA Shares Lessons Learned on Intelligent Compaction Project

Intelligent Compaction machines on the Sitka Runway Overlay Project during construction Knik Construction used intelligent compaction (IC) to improve the quality of construction operations on the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport Runway Overlay Project.

Agencies, engineers, and contractors pursuing intelligent compaction (IC) on pavement construction projects can take advantage of a new document produced by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). FHWA’s Application Notes: Intelligent Compaction Implementation on Sitka Airport Project document details IC’s implementation, training process, strengths, and limitations during an asphalt runway overlay project at the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport in Alaska. Jointly developed by FHWA, The Transtec Group, and project contractor Knik Construction, the document is freely available online at FHWA’s IC Technical Support Service Center.

The Sitka Airport document is a practical resource for those aiming to improve their asphalt pavement construction operations with IC, a technology that tracks compaction progress. On this project, the construction team used two Hamm IC rollers to record roller passes, asphalt surface temperature, and the stiffness of compacted materials, then display it to the roller operator in real time.

Contractor Knik Construction (Knik) used that real-time feedback to guarantee full coverage of the asphalt mat and to combat limited visibility during nighttime paving. The project’s IC operations were so successful that the final measured mat densities qualified the contractor for full bonus under the project requirements. Agencies, engineers, and contractors can use the Sitka Airport document to learn from Knik’s IC experience.

In the report, Knik describes their IC training, implementation, and data collection processes for the project. To display, analyze, and report the data collected by IC, Knik used Veda, a data management tool created by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, FHWA, and pavement engineering firm The Transtec Group.

Knik identifies the greatest benefits and limitations they experienced using IC on the Sitka Airport project. While the technology’s relative newness can be a limitation, IC benefited the project by collecting records of all roller settings and by providing real-time information about compaction progress. Knik intends to continue implementing IC on their projects.

For more information about IC or the Sitka Airport project, download the document at FHWA’s IC Technical Support Service Center, or contact Amanda Gilliland, Knik Construction; Antonio Nieves Torres, FHWA; or Dr. George K. Chang, PE, The Transtec Group.

About The Transtec Group: The Transtec Group is a pavement engineering firm that delivers exceptional engineering in pavement design, design/build, P3, construction, research, pavement surface testing, pavement software development, and technology implementation.  Transtec engineers pavements that reduce cost, accelerate schedules, and protect clients from risk.  The firm has completed over 600 projects worth more than $20 billion on five continents and is a minority-owned small business based in Austin, Texas.  For more information, please visit