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New lab continues Stephens' work on roadway improvement
June 20, 1997

Jack Stephens has been working to improve roadways for more than 40 years.

His accomplishments, along with those of his colleagues, were recognized May 14 at the dedication of a new lab he directs, the Connecticut Advanced Pavement Laboratory.

The lab, located at the former Mansfield Training School, is part of the University's Engineering Transportation Institute. It opened last year with equipment funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, in hopes of carrying out new test methods and design procedures developed by the Strategic Highway Research Program. The program has adjusted pavement characteristics to handle different traffic and climate conditions.

The procedures are being implemented nationwide. Stephens expects to develop the performance data needed to tailor those procedures more closely to Connecticut's needs.

"We're trying to produce roadways that don't age as fast," said Stephens. "The amount of traffic, the temperature, the type of asphalt and the hot mixes that are used affect the rate at which it ages. The asphalt gets hard and brittle with time, and we are trying to slow this process down."

Stephens and his staff believe this can be done by developing hot mixes that are made of recycled asphalt pavements, bituminous binders, manufactured sand and coarse aggregate. Recycling old pavement material into the hot mix solves a disposal problem and saves petroleum.

Lab manager Jim Mahoney and his assistants are designing several of these mixtures for the resurfacing of Route 2.