SR-24 Asphalt Rehabilitation & Shoulders Project


Nielson Construction & Materials

Project Type


Asphalt Paving





Central Utah

Owner: Utah Department of Transportation
General Contractor:  Nielson Construction & Materials
Start Date: March 2022
Completion Date: November 2022

Materials & Quantities Used:

  • 60,550 CY Roadway Excavation
  • 17,000 CY UTBC
  • 33,553 Tons HMA
  • 50,840 Tons SMA

Nielson Construction & Materials completed a 32.5-mile-long improvement project on the scenic SR-24, the route designated as a National Scenic Byway and the primary access to Capitol Reef National Park. All improvements focused on increasing the safety score of the roadway. These improvements included widening and paving shoulders, extending drainage culverts, and flattening steep slopes to ensure safer passage. The project was separated into two sections, the first being approximately 18 miles long, beginning on the West end of Torrey and going East, and the second section was approximately 15 miles, beginning in Caineville and moving into Hanksville.

Due to the unique location of this project, being inside a National Park boundary, the project team successfully worked around highly sensitive environmental, archeological and paleontological sites. Through the use of a Public Information Officer, employed by UDOT, the team partnered to identify challenges and solutions for the project and ensured open communication was available. This partnership was critical to the success of the project.

The design team was challenged with maximizing shoulder width to accommodate visitor traffic and improve the safety score without encroaching on the natural environment. They successfully identified utilizing the “sliver cuts and sliver fills” process that assisted in producing technical work in extremely tight areas.

Stone Matrix Asphalt was placed as the final layer on the roadway surface. The choice to utilize this type of asphalt mix extends the life of the roadway, reducing impacts to visitors in the park, and greatly reducing the need for future pavement maintenance work. The quality of the work performed by the paving crews was exceptional as they reduced the MRI on the project from greater than 175 to less than 65. This was an excellent improvement of 63% in ride quality.

*This project was the recipient of the 2022 Quality in Construction Award by the Utah Asphalt Pavement Association (UAPA).