Highlights from the 57th Illinois Bituminous Paving Conference

The 57th Illinois Bituminous Paving Conference, held December 12 and 13, 2016, at the iHotel and Conference Center in Champaign, Illinois, was a great success—with more than 325 people in attendance. The event brought together highway engineers, government officials, contractors, consultants, university researchers, and representatives of private industry to discuss highway improvement and disseminate current technical data.


This year, the conference was preceded by a special workshop titled “I-FIT: An Industry Perspective.” The workshop offered an overview of the I-FIT cracking test protocol developed by the Illinois Center for Transportation and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

I-FIT uses the semi-circular bending fracture test to determine an asphalt mixture’s resistance to cracking and is now an AASHTO provisional standard (AASHTO TP124 and Illinois Test Procedure 405). Results from I-FIT, combined with results of other performance tests, help designers balance asphalt mixes for optimum durability and rut resistance.

The conference featured discussions and presentations on a variety of topics, including cold recycling technology using bitumen-stabilized materials, hot-mix asphalt durability and implementation, cost-effective mixes of SMA, prediction of aggregate temperatures with thermodynamics, and best practices for hot-mix asphalt.

Speaking at the conference were leaders in government, industry, and academia such as Kim Jenkins of Stellenbosch University in South Africa, Jim Trepanier of IDOT, Kevin Burke of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association, Imran Hossain of Bradley University, and ICT director Imad Al-Qadi, among others. Presentations and a full program are available on the conference’s history page.

The awards presentation recognized several student, academic, and industry leaders in the field of asphalt pavement:

  • Stephen Robinson, IDOT District 5 Materials Engineer and Acting Mixtures Control Engineer, was awarded the Bituminous Engineer/Technical Contribution Award for leading District 5 in the implementation of innovative bituminous materials and flexible pavement technology.
  • Imran Hossain, assistant professor at Bradley University, received the Innovative Research Award for his original work on the thermodynamics of hot-mix asphalt production.
  • UIUC graduate student Jing Ma was the recipient of the Annual Student Research Award for her exemplary progress on the fundamental knowledge and rheological characterization of recycled binder containing RAP and SAS.
  • Jay Behnke of S.T.A.T.E. Testing was awarded the Leadership in Bituminous Engineering Award for his work in the area of consultant services in materials testing and quality assurance.

Congratulations to all who won an award, and thank you to everyone who attended, presented, and organized the conference, making the 57th Illinois Bituminous Paving Conference the best to date.

Next year’s conference is scheduled for December 11 and 12, 2017, at the iHotel and Conference Center in Champaign, Illinois. Please save the date and sign up to receive email notifications about the next conference.