Thursday, November 7, 2019

Passing the test: KDOT material labs test variety of products

By Kelly Kultala
Northeast Kansas Public Affairs Manager

District One is responsible for construction and maintenance activities for 17 counties in northeast Kansas.  These responsibilities include improving and maintaining more than 5,704 miles of state highways that are located within this district. But did you ever really think about all the different ways we work to improve and maintain our state highways? 

For example, KDOT has several different labs across the state that conduct experiments and research on the materials we use in the construction and maintenance activities.  In District One, we have the Materials Lab in Topeka and the Holton Area Materials Lab.

These two labs have four responsibilities.

1). The District One lab conducts the verification and testing of asphalt, making sure that the composition of the asphalt meets state and national standards.

The District One Materials Lab conducts the verification and testing of asphalt.

2). They are responsible for the independent assurance witnessing of anyone who is testing the asphalts, aggregates and concrete. This helps make sure that anyone out in the field conducting tests is conducting them according to state and national procedures.

3). The lab also performs core drilling on projects to determine the condition of the roads. This checks the thickness of the concrete establishes corrective factors if needed.

 4). The Holton Area Materials Lab monitors the quarry rock samples, conducting tests on all the rock from quarries that want to be able sell their rock for KDOT approved projects. The rock is tested every year and sand is tested every five years.

This testing is critical to the success of our projects.  As Tammy Wilson, District One Materials Supervisor, said “KDOT has strict standards about what’s acceptable to go into our roads and bridges.  As it should be.”

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