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Federal Highways Administration ALF Upgrade

by Australian Road Research Board on August 15, 2011

ARRB Group and the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) in the USA have a history of parallel interest in accelerated pavement testing, using Accelerated Loading Facility (ALF) technology. FHWA currently owns and operates two ALF units at the Turner Fairbank Highway Research Centre in McLean Virginia, while ARRB owns and operates the original ALF in Australia.


Over the years, ARRB has modified and upgraded their ALF to take advantage of new technologies and to improve its operation and reliability. An early improvement was the fitting of a hydraulic lift and lower system for the main trolley to replace the original mechanical lift. More recently, a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) based Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) with a Windows based graphical user interface was commissioned.


ARRB has recently been awarded a contract to upgrade both machines for the FHWA. This will include a hydraulic system to replace the existing electromechanical trolley lifting device as well as a SCADA/PLC control system. The electrical systems of both machines will also be upgraded along with data monitoring and logging of parameters such as pavement temperature, loading cycles, hydraulic pressure etc.


ARRB will use local suppliers for these components and will manage their manufacture and testing in Melbourne. The new components will then be shipped to Virginia for installation and commissioning on site before the end of the year.

Photo L to R: Jason Metcalf (FHWA), Roland Leschinski (ARRB), Jim Johnson-Clarke (ARRB), Mario Tinio (FHWA), Bob Wright (ARRB), Chris Norquay (A&D Techeng, Australia), Dennis Sixbey (FHWA).