California Department of Transportation
Coronado Bridge Carquinez Bridge San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge Richmond San Rafael Bridge

Materials Engineering and Testing Services

Office of Roadway Materials Testing

This Office of Roadway Materials Testing (ORMT) assists a wide variety of Caltrans staff with materials engineering consultation in all aspects of roadway design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance. OFPT engineers maintain expertise in the fundamental properties of asphalt concrete as well as the specifications and test methods employed in its use and evaluation. ORMT also include Chemical Testing, Electrical Testing, Instrumentation Services branches.

A Flexible Pavement Materials staff member performs tests on samples from a Caltrans project.
A materials staff member
performs tests on samples from a Caltrans project.

  • Hot Mix Asphalt Branch

    The Asphalt Binder Lab conducts a wide variety of tests in accordance with the California Test methods, AASHTO and ASTM, on polymer modified, rubber modified and air refined asphalt binders. This lab uses "state of the art" equipment developed in the State Highway Research Program (SHRP) and is AASHTO accredited.

    The Bituminous Mix Lab conducts routine testing of asphalt concrete mixtures to assist the District labs and offers technical support to Caltrans and the Industry. This lab is instrumental in development of the asphalt concrete specifications and new test methods. This lab gets involved in validating the test results and assists the districts with failure investigation and is AASHTO accredited.

    The Performance Lab is equipped with the state of the art testing machines. It conducts and evaluates performance testing of AC based on the actual pavement design using climate and traffic index information. This lab uses the "Empirical Mechanistic Pavement Design" approach in verifying the quality of materials used in AC mixtures and is AASHTO accredited.

  • The Independent Assurance and Reference Sample Programs ensure the enforcement of the Independent Assurance Program (IAP), which requires that each State Highway Agency (SHA) develop and adhere to a quality assurance program per the Code of Federal Regulations Title 23 CFR 637. It also, evaluates the correlation of District, Local agency and private laboratories with its Reference Sample Program (RSP) to assure common standards. This group calibrates Caltrans and local agency laboratory equipment.
  • The Roadway Materials Field Testing Branch is responsible for providing statewide non-destructive pavement deflection testing using Falling Weight Deflectometer and Dynaflect equipment. Assists the Districts in acquiring data for pavement rehabilitation analysis. The deflection tests are used in pavement rehabilitation design. This branch provides skid resistance testing, portable skid testing and pavement coring services statewide. Manages statewide skid resistance inventory for Traffic Safety. Pavement coring services for the Deflection testing branch and coring services for District bridge decks and concrete pavements.
  • The Chemical Testing Branch provides testing and problem-solving services whenever the chemical content of materials and products are involved.
  • The Electrical Testing Branch is responsible for the quality assurance testing of the more than 10,000 traffic signal control devices and lighting products purchased each year by Caltrans.
  • The Instrumentation Services Branch provides structural instrumentation, equipment repair, and electronic design and consulting services to customers within Caltrans.