What happens when you host a workshop and 18 people show up? In Arkansas, we call it a success, because as AR Promotional Director Alan Meadors says, “These are the only people who design pavements for the State of Arkansas’ projects.”

Representing the ARDOT Roadway Design Division, the Asset Management Section, and the on-call engineering consultants, the attendees participated in a hands-on workshop last week that covered AASHTOWare’s Pavement M-E software and also touched on PavementDesigner, the concrete & cement industry’s multi-program pavement thickness design platform.

Alan adds that the small group size allowed for plenty of discussion about the concrete pavement design and the use of the new generation digital tools. Like a lot of state highway departments, ARDOT uses AASHTO 93, so this first-ever workshop gave the design professionals an opportunity to see example problems and to try the design tools firsthand.

Eric Ferrebee led the training on PavementDesigner for a group representing municipalities and counties, as well as the M-E design for the ARDOT group. Alan and Brent Burwell facilitated question and discussions, some of which focused on key differences among the design resources.

“Eric showed what PavementDesigner does, and the reason why, although it’s AASHTO 93 based, it has many more features,” Alan says, adding that Eric also set the stage for discussions about Pavement M-E and why it’s better than AASHTO 93.”

“He used example problems, including a major project that resulted in 11-in. thickness designs with ’93,” Alan says, adding that the same design when run through PavementDesigner and ME were 8-1/2 in. and 9 in. respectively. Alan explains the takeaway was, “AASHTO ’93 is too conservative, and we could have been more competitive with M-E.”

He initially proposed the training to ARDOT after seeing a write-up in ACPA’s CONCRETE PAVEMENT PROGRESS about a similar workshop in Florida.

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Photo: With computers at the ready and Eric Ferrebee presenting, ARDOT officials participate in a workshop covering AASHTOWare’s Pavement M-E pavement thickness design software. (Photo courtesy of Alan Meadors, OK/ARK Chapter.)