PAVEMENTS – Implementation of Intelligent Compaction Technology for use in Queensland
NACOE Project Number: P105: Implementation of Intelligent Compaction (IC) in Queensland
Contact email: email@example.com
Project Stage of Completion: 90%
Over the last decade, Intelligent compaction (IC) technology has gained popularity around the world and has been shown to improve construction quality and productivity. Intelligent compaction (IC) can provide important and immediate roller operating parameters to the operator (in the form of a visual map) to ensure that pavement layers and earthworks are compacted uniformly and in accordance with appropriate standards. IC data can also be uploaded and stored online for archiving and remote-monitoring purposes.
Since 2019, The National Asset Centre of Excellence (NACOE) has been working on investigating and implementing the use of Intelligent Compaction (IC) technology as an innovative way to monitor and improve the quality and assurance of compaction works in Australia which leads to a significant increase in the service life of road construction works.
The NACOE P105 project, Implementation of Intelligent Compaction (IC) in Queensland has helped to establish IC technology, localise its experience, and disseminate new knowledge within the industry. The project to date has successfully worked with multiple industry partners, (here in Australia and overseas), local governments, and universities to implement intelligent compaction techniques through multiple trials, including IC projects for asphalt, granular pavements, and other materials.
It has demonstrated remarkable outcomes in quality assurance, dissemination of learnings, future planning, and the development of new technical notes that have the potential for widespread positive impact across Australia’s pavement and road construction industry. Drawing on the project’s extensive experience over the years, coupled with consultations with experts from the US and Europe, to assure a sustainable implementation of the technology, the project has successfully designed and implemented training sessions at various levels. Additionally, future endeavours have been meticulously outlined and planned in accordance with the proposed implementation plan provided by the project.
While initially launched in Queensland, this project has played a pivotal role in driving the widespread adoption of IC technology nationwide, resulting in significant cost savings annually. The project’s outcomes, valuable experience, knowledge, and key learnings have been effectively disseminated to various stakeholders nationwide through AfPA trainings, information sessions, and webinars. This comprehensive knowledge sharing approach has facilitated the successful implementation and utilisation of IC technology across Australia, maximising its benefits for road authorities and the community.
It started with a comprehensive literature review in 2019 to evaluate the potential benefits in the use of IC technology for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and the wider road construction industry.
In Stage Two the project developed a pilot project-specific technical specification which was successfully trialled on the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade project where the IC technology was tested on different materials (embankment fill, subgrade, cement modified base, and unbound granular base) and demonstrated that it can readily identify soft areas in a pavement or embankment and can be used to improve the uniformity of the compacted layers. It was realised in this early stage of the project that there will be significant learning required for the industry to become familiar with IC technology to incorporate it future construction practices.
Stage Three prioritised the dissemination of new knowledge and local experience on IC technology to promote its many benefits. While monitoring demonstration field trials, the team were busy planning more trials with other materials and developing different levels of training to share their practical findings. Training materials (videos) were prepared for the Veta 7.0 package to ease its use for data display and analysis. A benefit-cost analysis to better understand the financial and environmental impact of using IC from both the client and contractor’s perspective and further illustrate the benefits of its technology.
A trial was undertaken in Stage Four for the use of IC technology on asphalt layers. An asphalt rehabilitation project was chosen to focus on intelligent compaction pre-mapping, which is one of the major benefits of using IC technology for asphalt projects (in identifying weak support areas prior to the paving of the hot mix asphalt overlay). It provided the opportunity to understand how the road agencies can monitor, oversee, quality control and accept a project and what is required in terms of specifications, technical standards and contracts.
The team have actively engaged with stakeholders to incorporate additional practical requirements and progress towards the final phase of intelligent construction. The final phase involves gradually mandating the use of IC in road construction, particularly in major projects.
The Australian Flexible Pavement Association (AfPA) also delivered a virtual masterclass, providing additional training on the use of the latest IC data management software, Veta 6.0.
Some of the outstanding outcomes of this project include, but are not limited to:
- Implementation of IC technology for different materials and with different packages. This includes the requirements for operation (hardware & software), practical procedures, data management, and reporting and acceptance criteria.
- The project funded Veta 6.0 to support the latest GDA2020 system which will be the main cadastral grid to be used across different jurisdictions in Australia.
- Development of IC technical notes and guide documents (including contractual requirements, checklists, “How to” guides, etc.).
- Development of training courses (including the required training materials) and carrying out the training within the industry (in partnership with AfPA).
- Quantifying the IC benefits and costs for the client and the contractor, based on local experience in Australia.
- Adopting the required operation, analysis and reporting packages with common practices in Australia. Veta, the worldwide well accepted package now covers the coordinates and operational practices in Australia.
- Hand-on experience with different packages.
- Provision of the “Implementation Plan” to draw the future picture planned for road construction.
- First industry workshop held in Queensland on Intelligent Compaction Data Management (ICDM) 2019, in collaboration with an expert from USA
- Project-specific Technical Specification PSTS116 developed
- Utilising PSTS116 in the first major roadwork project using IC technology for compaction auditing at Ipswich Motorway Upgrade Project (March and August 2020)
- Collaboration with Logan City Council to implement IC technology on local roads
- Knowledge transfer activities (webinars).