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INSIDE ACCESS: VDOT Materials Lab tests asphalts, concrete

The lab checks compositions for your commute.

SUFFOLK, Va. — How much do you consider the streets, highways, and bridges across Hampton Roads?

At the materials testing lab, they consider it every day. They test asphalts, concrete, and aggregates within the facility. 

Wayne Bartholomew, the VDOT lab supervisor, and his team test the different materials for drivers. 

"You’re working for the taxpayers, so were servants in a sense," Bartholomew said. 

Their service includes measuring temperatures, pressures and substances and the effect they have on the structural elements of the roads. 

Concrete samples sit in a moisture room for 28 days before checking how many pounds per square inch it can withstand. The lab receives a set of three from a certain location that they will average out.

The pressure is on when testing concrete pillars but when it comes to asphalt, the team utilizes heat instead of pressure.

Asphalt samples are heated to a few hundred degrees while the crew works. They must move quickly while the asphalt is still warm. "We're in here testing materials to make sure they’re done right."

There is a lot to track: different ratio and proportions that the different jobs require but this something they do every day.