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12/4/11 National Asphalt Pavement Association - How to Determine Quantities

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How to Determine Quantities

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Measuring a Pavement Job.
To determine the amount of
asphalt ou will need for a paving
job ou first need to know the area
to be paved. This ma be simple if
the area to be paved is square,
rectangular or constant width of
road. However, this is seldom the
case since there ma be planters
in the area to be paved, the width
of the road ma var or there are
cul-de-sacs. This ma seem to be
impossible in some cases, but b
dividing the pavement area into
simple geometric shapes and
adding and subtracting these areas
the area to be paved can be
quickl determined. The following
are basic formulas for calculating
the area of different geometric

Lets look at the parking lot in Figure 1, since the often have man features that complicate
the calculation of area.

When ou first look at this it ma seem complicated since it is not a square, triangle or
circle. However, it is a combination of squares triangles and circles as can be seen in Figure
12/4/11 National Asphalt Pavement Association - How to Determine Quantities
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Figure 1: Parking Lot
Figure 2: Parking Lot Divided into
Geometric Shapes
By dividing a project into these simple shapes you can now easily calculate the area to be

Area A is a rectangle 100'100' = 10,000 square feet

Area B is a triangle 30'100'2 = 1,500 square feet

Area C is a rectangle 20'120' = 2,400 square feet

Area D is a circle 702 4 3.14 = (7070) 4 3.14 = 3,846.5 square feet.

To determine the total area of paving all we have left to do is add the areas together with one
exception, the planters in the middle of the parking area. All we have to do here is calculate
the area of the planters and subtract that area from the sum of the other areas. But I'm tired
now so I will leave the calculation of the planter areas up to you. Just remember the planter
areas are just rectangles with semi-circles at each end.

Therefore, the total paved area is:

10,000 + 1,500 + 2400 +3846.5 - (Planter Area) = 17,257 square feet.

OK, I did calculate the planter area, I just wanted you to have a try at this. I also rounded off
to the nearest whole number. This is all the accuracy you will likely ever need on a paving

You may notice that there are small areas around the curb returns at the cul-de-sac that
were not calculated. In this case the areas are small and will not make a significant
difference in the total areas. If you have many areas like this on a project it would probably
be best to draw the area to scale on graph paper and estimate the area by counting the
number of squares and multiplying the number of squares by the area of each square. For
example if you drew the area at a scale of 1"=20' and the graph paper was divided into 0.10"
increments each square would have an area of 4 square feet (22). If you counted 20
squares, the total area would be 80 square feet (204).

Figure 3 illustrates an example of this. In this case there are approximately 20 squares. One
of the tricks is to combine partial squares. For example if 3/4 of one square is covered by the
area and 1/4 of another square is also covered by the area they can be combined and
counted as a full square.
12/4/11 National Asphalt Pavement Association - How to Determine Quantities
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Figure 1: Graph Paper Method for Determining Area
Now that you have the area calculated, you next need to calculate the quantities. Quantities
are usually specified by weight (tons) or volume (cubic yards). No matter how it is specified
you will first need to calculate the volume. Volume is easy to calculate since it is simply
Area Thickness. One of the keys in calculating volume is to always use the same
dimension. Therefore, if we measure the area in square feet we have to convert thickness
measurement to feet also. For example if you are placing 6" of aggregate base the thickness
would be converted to:

6"12"/foot = 0.5 feet.

To compute the volume we simply multiply this thickness by the area previously computed.

Volume = Area Thickness = (17,257 square ft.) (0.5 feet) = 8628.5 cubic ft.

Aggregate base and other material are often specified or purchased by the cubic yard;
therefore, you need to convert cubic feet to cubic yards. Since there are 27 cubic feet per
cubic yard (3'/yard 3'/yard 3'/yard) you would need to divide the cubic foot volume by 27.

Volume = 8628.5 cubic ft. 27 cubic ft/cubic yd. = 320 cubic yds.

To calculate the weight of material needed for a project you will need to know the compacted
density of the material. Density is the weight of material per volume. For example pounds per
cubic foot. The density of Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) does vary depending on mix proportions
and type of aggregate. If you do not know the in-place density of mixes you use ask your

To determine the weight of material multiply the volume by the density of material:

Weight = Volume Density

Using the previous example and assuming an HMA density of 145 pounds per cubic foot
12/4/11 National Asphalt Pavement Association - How to Determine Quantities
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(pcf) and a thickness of 4" we would perform the following calculations.

1 Volume = 17,257 sq. ft. (4"12"/ft) = 5,752 cu. ft.
(notice that the thickness was converted from inches to feet)
2 Weight = 5,752 cu. ft. 145 pcf = 834,040 lbs.
3 Convert to tons = 834,040 lbs. 2,000 lbs/ton = 417 tons

Now it's your turn to try your new skills. Using the paving area in Figure 2, calculate the
cubic yards of aggregate base and tons of HMA needed assuming the following.

1 Areas A & B are to be paved using 4" of Aggregate Base and 3" of HMA.)
2 Areas C & D are to be paved using 6" of Aggregate Base and 4" of HMA.

Answers: Areas A & B: Agg. Base = 136 cu. yds; HMA = 200 tons
Areas C & D: Agg. Base = 116 cu. yds: HMA = 151 tons
A note about measuring areas of roadwas with curves
When determining the area of a roadway with a curve it is important that the length be
measured along the centerline of the road. By doing this the area is simply the length of the
arc along the centerline times the width.

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