In the 1980s, many state transportation departments were experiencing widespread premature deterioration of asphalt pavements. To address this problem the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) undertook a program of asphalt research that eventually led to a new asphalt mixture design and analysis system called Super pave. Super pave stands for Superior Performing Asphalt Pavements.
The Super pave system includes a performance-based asphalt binder specification, a mix design analysis system, many new test procedures, and new equipment. The Strategic Highway Research Program was established by Congress in 1987 as a five(5) year, $150-million research program to improve the performance and durability of our highway system.
In 1991, Congress authorized The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to initiate full-scale implementation of Superpave and other SHRP research results. This process began in 1993 when SHRP delivered its final research findings. States, FHWA, and industry all took advantage of techniques such as state pooled-fund equipment buys, expert task groups, mobile laboratories, user-producer group, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Lead States Program, and Super pave Centers to implement the research results.
Super pave is a comprehensive system for the design of paving mixes that are tailored to the unique performance requirements dictated by the traffic, environment (climate), and structural section at a pavement site. It enhances pavement performance through the selection and combination of the most suitable asphalt binder and aggregate.
Super pave represents the integration of several products of the SHRP asphalt research program into a single system for the design and analysis of paving mixes. It encompasses new material specifications, test methods, equipment, software, and mixture design method.