Iowa invests in VRAM

Used since 2002 and now across 21 states, J-Band has a proven track record of delivering longer-lasting, safer roads, while also offering an impressive return on investment. Developed at the laboratories of Heritage Research Group, J-Band is applied during the road construction process just below the final layer of asphalt pavement.

Once covered, it migrates upwards filling the voids that can be penetrated by water and air, preventing damage before it can start. Asphalt Material’s J-Band product is a void reducing asphalt membrane (VRAM).

The Project

This particular project took place in October 2021 in Clinton County, IA. This 20,000 foot project with a 1,575 foot control section started at 330th Ave, stretching all the way to Central Dewitt High School.

The J-Band application began at 320th Ave going westbound where 11,500 feet of J-Band was applied, they stopped about 1,575 feet from the west end of the project.

Project Notes

  • Application was scheduled to be 18” wide and 0.96 lb/ft (±10%) for the 2” fine graded surface course.
  • Paving equipment consisted of a Weiler E1650 MTV, CAT AP1055F paver, CAT CB64 – 12-ton breakdown roller,  and a CAT CB44 10-ton intermediate/finish roller.
  •  Ambient temperatures were recorded to be 50°F, pavement 58°F and VRAM surface temperature of 60°F.  Mix temp was 275°F under the screed.
  • It was noted that the J-Band was migrating about 3/4” up into the mix. 
  • Breakdown roller was making 3 vibratory passes along with 3 passes with the intermediate/finish roller.

An investment in protecting the longitudinal joint helps roads last up to 5 years longer and delivers a return on investment of 3 to 5 times its cost. An Indiana DOT life cycle analysis showed that an investment of $12.5M in J-Band would result in a $39M in savings (approximately 3:1 ROI). While the use of J-Band adds initial cost to the road, it delivers a significant return on investment of up to five times its cost.

A road is more resilient when less maintenance is required. VRAM is a wise financial investment, and an investment in making roads safer and more sustainable. Wise infrastructure investments will also enhance tax-payer confidence that their money is being spent with their best interests in mind.

We believe that these types of projects will motivate project teams to collaborate to achieve better outcomes. Test and control sections should provide an objective measure of sustainable performance, which will draw attention to the good work being undertaken by counties like Clinton County, IA.

In every state except Illinois, the product is specified as VRAM or Void Reducing Asphalt Membrane. However, in Illinois the product is specified as LJS or Longitudinal Joint Sealant. Also, depending on the situation, VRAM can be sprayed at different width’s. This article notes 17 to 18.5” with an average of 17.5” which is a typical application width for centerline applications.

Safety, Transformation, and Organizational Goals Outlined in DOT’s Focus Areas for 2022
J-Band’s Sustainability Assessment