Department of Transportation Fast Patch Design

The Problem
One of the challenges transportation organizations face is maintaining roads through concrete repair. Delayed drivers get irritated, and extended closures on interstates can have regional business impacts. Safety is another aspect for consideration as prolonged repair times increase worker exposure to motor-vehicle accidents. However, if lanes are re-opened too quickly there is the potential that low-strength concrete may be unsafe for traffic. The solution is fast patch mixes.

A fast patch mix is concrete designed to set and gain strength quickly to speed up the concrete repair process. A typical fast patch mix may be ready for traffic within a 5-hour window. These mixes rely heavily on high cement content and calcium chloride to achieve set and strength goals. However, this combination can be extremely challenging to work with. Current fast patch mixes may only allow 30 minutes after batching before the concrete becomes unworkable. These mixes have also historically had reduced long-term durability, which means more frequent roadway closures for repair and replacement.

Designing a Solution
Premiere Concrete Admixtures LLC., is heavily involved in research and development to support local and state departments of transportation. Recently, Premiere demonstrated a new fast patch mix design. The design is appealing to departments of transportation for a few major reasons, the first being workability. Premiere’s fast patch more than doubled workable time without sacrificing rate of set. In other words, the concrete remained workable for over an hour but still gained its desired strength within the 5-hour target window.

The second benefit of Premiere’s mix design is increased long-term durability. This was achieved in part thanks to the addition of a specialty product of Premiere’s called Impede® IntraSeal. IntraSeal creates a water repelling barrier throughout concrete, and is known for reducing the effects of freeze-thaw damage and brine penetration. This is an essential component to durability in concrete that is treated during winter months with deicing chemicals. Impede® IntraSeal has been used in municipal roadways to increase durability, but fast patch is a new application of the technology.

In addition to traditional flexural and compressive strength testing, Premiere had a unique way of demonstrating the strength of their mix. Five hours after the concrete was batched, a fully loaded 40-ton Premiere semi-tanker barreled toward the fresh patch of concrete. It drove over the patch, stopped, and then backed over the patch again, coming to a stop on top of it. An examination of the surface confirmed what lab testing had already concluded. The patch was unmarked due to sufficient flexural strength gain within the specified 5-hour curing window.

Leveraging Technology
Concrete test specimens were match cured in Con-Cure LLC’s TruMatch™curing box. Utilizing NEX® concrete temperature monitoring, TruMatch™ allowed Premiere to cure test specimens at exactly the same temperatures as the fast patch concrete in the field. Since time and temperature are the variables that account for concrete maturity and strength gain, specimen break results could be trusted as an accurate indicator of field concrete strength.

Premiere utilizes cutting-edge technology like TruMatch™, NEX®, and Impede® IntraSeal to redefine standards for the concrete industry. The new fast patch gives departments of transportation a mix that is easier to work with and more durable, while meeting acceptable strength gain and rate of set specifications. For more information or product related inquiries please contact us here!

Aerial view of Premiere's fast patch project.
Field testing the fresh concrete with a 40 ton semi-tanker.

U.S. Highway 24

Fort Wayne, IN to Toledo, OH

The cost of the project from the Indiana State line to US 424 phases II and III is over 163 million dollars. There is over 80,000 cubic yards of ready mix concrete to be supplied for bridges, abutments, piers, wing & barrier walls, etc.  Bill Maize, Vice President of Sales, assisted Baker-Shindler Ready Mix of Defiance Ohio with mix & economic considerations in pursuit of the project. The mixes specified by ODOT were QCQA mixes; QCQ1 and QCQ2. The Producer decided to use one mix that met the QCQ2 specification thus meeting the required specifications of QCQ1. By using one mix the preliminary testing was minimized.

The mix used a blend of Type 1 Portland Cement, Fly Ash, and GGBFS cement, along with blended limestone aggregates and natural sand. The water cement ratio is .40. The  project is the first to utilize color in the stone textured piers; the color was decided by the public.

Premiere Concrete Admixtures used:

OptiFlo® 500
OptiFlo® MR
UltraFlo® 4600
NitroCast® K

“Premiere Concrete Admixtures has been extremely helpful to us with their technical assistance. Bill Maize helped us obtain the US 24 project and assists in the quality control of pours that require meeting difficult challenges. Premiere has a complete line of products that meet all our needs; they’re a great company to work with, we’re lucky to have them in our industry.”
– Drew Shindler, Baker-Shindler Ready Mix

U.S. Highway 131

Kent County, MI

U.S. 131 Concrete Overlay– West River Drive to 10 Mile Road, Kent County

This project was the final link in MDOT‘s investment to make improvements on U.S. 131 from Ann Street in Grand Rapids to 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs. Work began on this corridor back in 2000 and was completed with this project in 2008. The U.S. 131 corridor north of Grand Rapids has experienced tremendous growth and traffic volumes have followed that growth.

A constraint in building this project was the bridge over 6 Mile Road on southbound U.S. 131. The bridge is narrow and was not able to handle conventional construction traffic configurations. This project utilized MDOT’s split/merge traffic plan which enabled two lanes of traffic to be maintained in each direction. This traffic plan eliminated the need to widen the bridge over 6 Mile or limit traffic to one lane, saving considerable costs in both construction and user delays. Under the split/merge traffic plan, three lanes of traffic were maintained on one roadbed, two lanes in one direction and one in the other, separated by temporary concrete barrier wall. The side under construction had one lane of traffic for local use and access to the opened ramps. Traffic was separated from the work zone by construction barrels. Several different signage techniques were used in the first year and will help in the standardization of lead-in signage for future projects utilizing the split/merge method of traffic control.

Considerable concern and effort were made to correct the old roadway’s parabolic surface, superelevation and crown cross slope bringing it up to current standards. All while maintaining a minimum of 6.5″ of concrete overlay thickness. Preliminary cross sections were taken and meetings held between MDOT and contractors to review and adjust the finished grades.

This unbonded concrete overlay will greatly extend the life of the roadway and improve ride quality. The enhancements made in ramp alignments and acceleration/deceleration lanes will promote safety and improve traffic flow.

Premiere Concrete Admixtures supplied the project with ConAir® 260, an air entrainment specially designed for the paving market. In recent years many air entrainments have been inconsistent resulting in higher and higher dosages with constant adjusting. It had been very difficult for pavers to be able to accurately estimate usage for the projects, before the introduction of ConAir® 260. ConAir® 260 averages a dosage range of 1.0 – 1.8 oz per cwt. consistently whether the mix is straight cement, or whether supplementary cementitious materials are added. In addition Ajax Paving selected Optiflo® 500 for their low range water reducing and set control needs from 2 – 4 oz/cwt.

Optiflo® Plus was utilized for superior finish and accelerated set enhancement for situations that required early strengths and quicker set times. Whether it was a storm in the forecast or hand work Optiflo® Plus allowed Ajax to optimize production.

Contractor: Ajax Paving Industries
Engineer: Michigan Department of Transportation
Owner: Michigan Department of Transportation

I-75 Modernization Project

Detroit, MI

Premiere Concrete Admixtures is a proud admixture supplier for the Michigan Department of Transportation I-75 Modernization project.

Segment 3 of the project includes:

  • reconstruction of more than 5 miles of freeway,
  • making safety enhancements,
  • improving drainage,
  • repair/replacement of 28 bridges,
  • oversight and maintenance of the area for 25 years post-completion.

The project is anticipated to reach completion in late 2023.