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California stakeholders recognize concrete pavement’s seven-decade record

Construction industry leaders, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) officials, and state legislators assembled in late-August to recognize the performance, longevity and value inherent in a 10-mile stretch of concrete pavement along Interstate 10, linking Ontario and Colton and placed in 1947 with a projected 20-year service life.

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Caltrans archives track the progress contractor and concrete supplier Griffith Co. logged during the construction of the Ontario-Colton link. The Interstate 10 stretch presently carries 270,000 vehicles a day, perpetually testing the integrity of slabs entering an eighth decade of service. VINTAGE PHOTOS: California Department of Transportation
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Twenty years after opening the Colton-Ontario link, Caltrans pegged the 10-mile segment as a prime candidate to test diamond grooving, a surface improvement method whose potential to extend concrete pavement service life is underscored along today’s Interstate 10. 2017 PHOTOS: Garrett Larson for American Concrete Pavement Association
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“Manufacturing and distributing cement and other building materials provides us the opportunity to see the results of the great potential that exists in the built environment. When we apply science, technology and artistry, and add equal measures of sustainable construction practices, almost anything imagined is possible,” said CalPortland Co. CEO and 2017 Portland Cement Association Chairman Allen Hamblen. “This section of highway is not only a testament of the durability and sustainability of quality concrete construction, it is also a reminder of how we must design and construct resilient projects that will withstand the impacts of increased use and an increasingly demanding environment.”

“The 70-year pavement life of these sections of I-10 is the mission that Caltrans will continue to provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability,” added Caltrans District 8 Director John Bulinski.

“By any standard, 70 years is a remarkable period of time for any pavement to last, but considering that it is 8 inches thick—about 50 to 75 percent thinner than most freeway pavements—and that it carries about 180,000 more vehicles per day than the 90,000 it carried less than 25 years ago, it is an exceptional example of pavement longevity,” said California Nevada Cement Association Executive Director Tim Tietz, who served as “Interstate 10 at 70 Years” master of ceremony.

The celebratory event was staged at the Ontario Airport Hotel by co-hosts CalPortland, Caltrans Region 8, California Nevada Cement Association and Southwest Concrete Pavement Association, with support from the American Concrete Pavement Association and PCA. Alongside industry and agency accolades, the California Senate and State Assembly recognized the freeway with a formal proclamation, calling attention to the pavement’s capacity to carry more trucks with heavier payloads than ever before, and its “sustainability and resiliency to the forces of nature and man.”