Paving Safer Roads with Open-Graded Friction Course
By: Don Fletcher, Director of Quality Control and Taylor McPherson, Director of Communications & Community Engagement;
We’ve remained committed to helping the communities where we live and work to thrive for more than 80 years. On the road, our dedication to continuous improvement means that we strive to improve on yesterday’s performance – and yesterday’s materials. Our industry overall remains just as steadfast in this commitment.
By utilizing materials that are considered “the best of the best,” our industry provides communities with safer, more reliable roadways in rain or sunshine. If it happens to be a case of rainy or inclement weather, that’s where Open-Graded Friction Course (OGFC) comes in.
Used since the 1950s, OFGC improves the surface frictional resistance of asphalt pavements. This form of pavement really has its moment to shine in wet weather driving conditions. By allowing water to drain through its porous structure away from the roadway, wet pavement friction is improved. Thus, motorists are less susceptible to hydroplaning, splash and spray from other vehicles. Other benefits with this type of pavement include improved surface reflectivity and a reduction in traffic noise.
Both the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) have implemented Open-Graded Friction Course into several interstate roadway sections and monitored results that followed suit. TDOT has observed a 32% reduction in wet weather crashes.
Our family of companies is proud to have produced and installed more than 100,000 tons of OGFC on several pivotal projects including Interstate 22 (Hwy. 78), Interstate 269 and Interstate 55. While OGFC is more expensive to make and place than traditional asphalt mixes, the additional cost is well worth it. In the end, safer roadways with increased visibility for drivers means less crashes and more families remaining united at the end of the day.