Request for Proposal
Project 06-05
Guidelines for Use of Highway Specifications for HMA Airport Pavements

Proposals Due September 14, 2007

Guidelines for Use of Highway Specifications for HMA Airport Pavements


Federal regulations permit the use of State Department of Transportation highway specifications for airports with runways less than 5000 feet long and service aircraft weighing less than 60,000 lbs. The use of the state specification provides opportunities to obtain high quality, low cost hot mix asphalt (HMA) pavements for airports. State specifications are primarily designed for highway pavements and selection of the proper specification and criteria for airport pavements is not always done. Selection of improper specifications that do not consider key factors for airport pavement performance may result in lower airport pavement performance than typically achieved using Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) criteria. Guidance is needed to insure that the critical factors in the FAA P-401 and P-403 specifications are being addressed when state specifications are selected.


The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive document that provides guidance to practicing airport designers on the selection of state highway specifications for use in airport HMA pavements. Preparation of this document requires extensive knowledge of the FAA's P- 401 and P-403 specifications and working knowledge of AASHTO and state highway pavement HMA specifications. The finished document shall be applicable to most state highway specifications and provide guidance on what limitations and/or additional procedures are needed to insure that when the state highway specifications are used, the specifications are appropriate for airport pavements.


Products from this research effort shall include a reference document containing guidance for using state specifications, a draft specification for use of state highway specifications for airport pavements, and a one hour fully documented PowerPoint presentation that is suitable for training and implementation of the guidelines. The primary target audience for these documents is consulting engineers involved in airport pavement construction specifications. The reference document shall contain critical elements used to select/modify state specifications to consistently provide the equivalent quality of FAA P-401 and P-403 specifications. The reference document is to contain checklists and a minimum of 10 examples of modified state highway specifications from states that are regionally diverse.

The final product and development of the guidelines shall consider but not be limited to the following items:

  1. History and background on airport quality criteria and regulations permitting use of state highway specifications.
  2. Discussion of the difference between highway and airport HMA pavements and specifications.
  3. Criteria for selection of state highway asphalt specifications for airports serving aircraft in categories based upon maximum gross aircraft weights of less than 12,500 lbs, 12,500 to 30,000 lbs and 30,000-60,000 lbs.
  4. Approval process for mix design (including material selection) and qualifications of testing laboratories. Checklists to provide assistance in evaluating asphalt mix designs.
  5. Criteria for HMA laboratory and field tests including test strips and compaction (longitudinal joint included) as part of the construction process.
  6. Criteria addressing impact for not meeting minimum requirements including removal and/or reduced payment for materials.

These products shall be developed by addressing the following tasks:

Task 1 -- Review of FAA P-401, P-403 and Engineering Brief 59A specifications and latest research (including AAPTP on-going research) to determine the latest criteria and acceptable ranges test values that provide quality pavement performance.

Task 2 -- Review of state DOT highway specifications to identify critical elements that are used to select specifications for specific applications.

Task 3 -- Development of a strategy and draft criteria for application of state specifications to asphalt airport pavements in categories based upon maximum aircraft gross weights and considering the following areas:

  1. Material Selection
  2. Composition (mix design)
  3. Construction
  4. Quality Control
  5. Acceptance

Task 4 -- Provide a preliminary report and presentation presenting work to date and the list of states that the guidelines will be tested in the final stages of guideline development and any other future course of actions that are being considered. The report is expected to be presented to the technical panel at a mutually agreed upon location four - six months after award.

Task 5 -- Revise criteria per technical panel's comments and apply guidelines to a minimum of 10 state highway specifications geographically distributed across the United States. Analyze results of the initial applications and evaluate the need for adjustments.

Task 6 -- Draft final reference document and specifications for technical panel review. The technical panel will provide comments within one (1) month after receiving drafts.

Task 7 -- Revise document and specification and provide final products including PowerPoint training materials. Camera ready copy of the final documents and electronic copy in press quality PDF format shall be submitted under this task.

All written documentation will be prepared using Microsoft Word unless otherwise stated. All reports will be the property of the AAPTP and Auburn University and will be supplied in a format that complies with the FAA's Section 508 requirements for electronic documents.

Reporting Requirements

Progress Reports

Quarterly progress reports (one hard copy and an electronic copy in Microsoft Word format) are required from the research agency and are to be prepared on the basis of calendar quarters. The research agency will mail the report directly to the AAPTP and will e-mail each of the members of the technical review panel a copy of the progress report. Each report will include a cover letter and the following:

  1. a clear and complete description of the work performed on each task during that quarter;
  2. an outline of the work to be accomplished during the next quarter;
  3. a description of any problem(s) encountered or anticipated that might affect the completion of the project within the time and fiscal constraints recommended;
  4. potential solutions to problems identified in (c) if any exist.

Report Format

The formats for the Interim and Final reports are provided under "Research Process."

Contractual Information

Funds Available: $130,000

Contract Time: 14 months (includes 1 month for AAPTP to review and for the contractor to revise the final report.)

Staff Responsibility: Monte Symons, 334-844-4964,

Proposals Due: September 14, 2007

Submit Proposals To: AAPTP, 277 Technology Parkway, Auburn, AL, 36830

Authorization to Begin Work: November 1, 2007 -- estimated

Maintained by Linda Kerr