NTPEP Work Plan for the Evaluation of Geotextile Materials in Highway Applications

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In March 2012, the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) approved the adaption of the Work Plan for the Evaluation of GEOTEXILE MATERIALS IN HIGHWAY APPLICATIONS (posted on website at www.ntpep.org).  The purpose of the NTPEP work plan is to establish a list of manufacturing facilities, private label companies, geotextile converters and their associated geotextile products that conform to the quality control and product testing requirements of the work plan and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) specification M-288.  Included in the audit work plan is an in depth paper trail review, an on-site visitation/verification audit and physical testing of M-288 conforming products.  Upon completion of the audit review, and if product compliance is demonstrated through the testing procedures, NTPEP will issue a unique identification(ID) code for each manufacturing location and post the test results and products to DataMine, the NTPEP database.  The full details of DataMine are only accessible by DOT personnel, while the individual participants have access to only their private data. The unique ID will allow the manufacturer to print the code (or company name) directly on to the geotextile with the conforming M-288 classification for each style of geotextile. This will allow the DOTs to visually identify the product as acceptable and to verify the audit conformance via DataMine.  

While the AASHTO M-288 specification has been in existence for over 25 years and the NTPEP evaluation and listing of tested geotextiles began in 2000, the adaptation of M-288 by the individual states has been limited. At last count, only 16 states have fully adapted M-288, 9 other states utilize portions of M-288 in their specifications, and 9 states require NTPEP evaluation of geotextiles prior to acceptance for use on their projects (one of these states only uses a portion of M-288 for their geotextile specification and another one uses their own independent specifications).  M-288 is an industry accepted generic specification that covers the majority of the standard applications used by DOTs, but not all DOTs have the equipment or ability to perform quality assurance (QA) testing. In the past the NTPEP work plan consisted of QA testing to a standard, of materials submitted by manufacturers, with no independent testing of private label, converter or distributor submissions (these were tied back to the source manufacturer). As of March 2012, all prime and private label products will be sampled and tested per the 2012 work plan providing documentation and traceability of the chain of custody and/or responsibility of ownership of the products. NTPEP believes that the audit work plan, the traceability and the visual identification printing will foster broader acceptance by the DOTs of the NTPEP work plan and M-288 as the specification standard for geotextiles. The audited products and data will be available on the NTPEP DataMine website which will allow AASHTO member states to access and utilize the information from the audit to create a qualified products/supplier list (QPL).  

The work plan implementation began in June 2012 and is estimated to take up to 2 years before a majority of manufacturers are audited. Audits will be performed as requested by manufacturers and products for testing are submitted in a 3 year cycle as former NTPEP tested materials roll out of approval or up to the full product line may be submitted during the initial audit.  During the implementation of the audit program, NTPEP, which is charged with promoting the usage of their programs by the DOTs, has provided a summary letter to explain the protocol and work plan benefits

Click Here to View the Letter 

At the same time, the DOTs should be made aware of the availability of the M-288-06 specification and its relation to the benefits of the NTPEP work plan.