All Evotherm, all the time: West Contracting

Sep 15, 2020

West Contracting has been a leader in asphalt paving across the Midwest for over six decades. West is headquartered in St. Louis and has plants in Sullivan, House Springs, and Pacific, Missouri, and completes specialty paving projects throughout Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

West’s first project with Ingevity in 2009 included Evotherm®, and allowed their team to drop the mix temperature to 230 F. To date, that job hasn’t needed maintenance. Throughout the years, West has worked with Ingevity to not only incorporate Evotherm into their projects but to also develop new mix designs and improve stripping resistance with warm mix. Additionally, West has used Evotherm as part of a balanced mix design approach and included Ingevity’s Evoflex® product to meet extracted binder specifications on mixtures with high reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) content.

In 2007, Steve Jackson began as a quality control manager with West, and is now the general manager, leading the plant, quality and material hauling divisions. Steve shares with us West’s experience transitioning to all-Evotherm operations.

What led to West’s transition to all-Evotherm operations?

When using Evotherm, we’ve measured that our mixes are easier to compact, so much so that we were able to remove a roller from our paving train. We noticed fewer joint bumps when placing a single lift of Superpave over concrete pavements when we decreased our mix temperatures. We also noticed that by reducing our mix temperatures, even slightly, it helped reduce some of the drum wear at the plant.

Describe your experience since incorporating Evotherm into your mixes.

We’ve seen many benefits. We have expanded our market by being able to reach out further from our portable plants since mixes with Evotherm can remain workable longer. We’ve also been able to reduce the storage temperatures in our asphalt binder tanks and we’re able to achieve bonus pay by consistently meeting density and TSR requirements. Lastly, we’ve even been able to increase the percentage of recycled products in our mixes.

For those who may not be using warm mix, what would you say about its benefits?

I believe it allows us to pave more quickly after it rains because Evotherm ties up the residual moisture in the RAP and aggregates. I also believe Evotherm helps our commercial customers provide a better overall road project because the mix will stay workable longer than it would without an additive, and helps them avoid the need to purchase larger rollers.

Tell us about a memorable project or experience with Evotherm or the Ingevity team.

In 2012, we used a spray paver to place a single, 1 ¼-inch lift of Superpave 9.5 mm mix bonded to concrete on Route 30 in Jefferson County, Missouri. Our paving foreman didn’t feel comfortable turning the heat down on the first night of production and we were getting joint bumps. We turned the temperature down and the issue was eliminated. In 2020, the worst cracking on that job is where we ran the mixture at higher temperatures. This project is 8 years old and still rides well.