Paving a Very Cold Runway in Alaska

In this article, the author shares his experiences in 1983 with paving Northway Runway in Northway, Alaska – a location so cold that the ground stays frozen even through the summertime. The existing runway was a primitive cold mix that used cutback asphalt (defined as solvent-diluted asphalt cement), a mix that is no longer used in part because it releases large amounts of hydrocarbons. The new runway was to use local aggregate and not melt the permafrost, both strategies to control costs and protect the environment. The author describes the various problems that the project encountered, including complications with the pavement mix, the frozen aggregate, and formulations. The author concludes with a brief story about the successful landing, soon after the paving, of a U.S. Army cargo plane that was carrying an 80,000-pound dozer; the pavement stood up well and the only distress was a single spot where a locked wheel turned and dug up the pavement with it. The postscript to the story is that the runway was completely destroyed in a major earthquake in 2003 and then completely rebuilt in 2008 with hot mix.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 29-33
  • Serial:
    • Asphalt
    • Volume: 28
    • Issue Number: 1
    • Publisher: Asphalt Institute
    • ISSN: 0004-4954

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01531713
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 4 2014 11:30AM