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Click here for the official NCAT web site, the MnROAD Partnership, Tracks in US, or Tracks Worldwide

HOTLINKS to download PAVE reports, review upcoming NCAT training courses, query historical weather data, view current color radar or preview local forecast.

8,851,996 ESALs on the Track as of 2300 hours on September 14, 2017 (89% of the 10,000,000 ESAL goal).  Rut depths, roughness, and macrotexture are measured every week.  Detailed construction and performance information for each section can be reviewed by clicking the links shown near the top of this page.  The web interface is an ongoing effort.  Please check back often!

CONTACT this project via...

NCAT_Pavement_Test_Track 1600_Lee_Road_151    Opelika,_AL_36804_USA 334.844.7304            

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Project Location

We love to share our work with visitors!  When driving in on I-85 (traveling from either Montgomery, AL or Atlanta, GA), get off the interstate at Alabama's exit 62 (near mile marker 62) and travel east on US 280.   Drive 4.4 miles, then turn to the right onto Lee Road 391.  Drive 1.7 miles, then turn to the left onto Lee Road 151.   You will reach the main entrance to the Track (on the right) after traveling 1.5 miles.  Turn right into the gate and enter the parking area after traveling only about 0.2 miles.  Please check in at the office when you arrive.  To help you navigate, directional signs have been posted from both I-85 and US 280 West all the way to the main gate.  Thanks ALDOT!  If you are navigating by GPS, the Track is located at 3235.9' N latitude and 8517.8' W longitude.


Project Background

Our facility is located about 30 minutes from the campus of Auburn University.  Managed by the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT), the Pavement Test Track provides a rare opportunity for sponsors to answer specific questions related to flexible pavement performance in a full scale, accelerated manner where results do not require laboratory scale extrapolations or lifelong field observations.

Experimental sections on the Pavement Test Track are cooperatively funded by external sponsors, most commonly state DOT’s, with subsequent operation and research managed by NCAT.  Forty-six different flexible pavements have been installed at the facility, each at a length of approximately 200 feet.    Materials and methods unique to section sponsors were imported during construction to maximize the applicability of results.  A design lifetime of truck traffic (10 million standard axle loads) is applied over a two-year period of time.  Unlike conventional efforts on public roadways, research at the NCAT Pavement Test Track is conducted in a private facility where axle loadings are precisely monitored and environmental effects are identical for every mix.  An array of surface parameters (smoothness, rutting, cracking, etc.) are monitored regularly as truck traffic accumulates to facilitate objective performance analyses.  State DOT’s typically have to wait 5 to 15 years to obtain less reliable results in full-scale field studies on public roadways.

Sponsors typically fund research on two or more sections so they can compare life cycle costs of common paving alternatives.   In this manner, they can rationally manage the public’s investment in flexible pavements by choosing mixes that cost less over the life of the structure.  For example, it is unwise to spend less on construction if the cheaper construction alternative results in a substantially higher life cycle cost.  In addition to comparing alternatives for sponsors, NCAT is responsible for guiding the overall effort in a direction that will address policy issues for the highway industry as a whole.

The Pavement Test Track is the result of industry and government committing to work together to improve the quality of flexible pavement performance, thus maximizing the taxpayers’ investment in America’s roadway transportation infrastructure.  This facility is expected to clarify the relationship between methods and performance such that design and construction policy in the future can be objectively guided by life cycle costs.

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Last updated: March 14, 2013.