Minnesota’s next round of research implementation projects will reduce the spread of noxious weeds along state highways, improve the quality of asphalt on Minnesota roads and enhance the inspection of state bridges.
MnDOT’s Transportation Research Innovation Group (TRIG) has announced 15 projects for funding in Fiscal Year 2015. (Project descriptions below.)
Each winter, MnDOT solicits proposals from staff who want to put local or national research into practice in their day-to-day work.
“Certain departments have problems they’ve been working on for a long time and they’ve spun their wheels or not had the staff resources to get something done,” said MnDOT Research Services & Library Project Advisor Bruce Holdhusen, who helps employees develop their proposal plans.
MnDOT provides the funding needed for equipment, consultant services or researcher assistance. Supervisors also must sign off that they’ll make time for the staff member to implement the practice.
“Implementation means it’s changing the way some practitioner does their job,” Holdhusen said. “It’s not just trying something new; it’s got to stick.”
Highlights of this year’s projects:
- Installation of GPS units on MnDOT mowers to alert highway maintenance crews to areas of noxious weeds. This is anticipated to cut herbicide usage in half.
- Purchase of 3D sonar equipment for underwater bridge inspection, which is currently performed by engineer-divers.
- Selection of an alternative, European-branded center-line rumble strip (Sinusoidal) that produces less stray highway noise.
- Implementation of an innovative asphalt-quality test, developed by MnDOT’s Office of Materials and Road Research, to assess the cold temperature-cracking properties of asphalt mixes proposed by contractors.
- Advertisement of state rest area amenities on highway notification signs. This pilot project will target 13 rest stops.
The complete list of projects, by category:
Maintenance Operations and Security
- Bridge Maintenance Painting Training and Test Site Implementation (PDF)
- Bridge Maintenance Training Videos (PDF)
- Automated Vehicle Location Data Incorporated wtih Operations Saves Money (PDF)
Materials and Construction
- Implementation of Disc-shaped Compact Tension Test for Asphalt Pavement (PDF)
- Testing of Rock and Composite Pile Sections (PDF)
- Carbonate Aggregate Screening Tool For Concrete (PDF)
- Institutionalizing Collection and Reporting of State and Local Pedestrian and Bicycle Traffic Counts in Minnesota (PDF)
Bridge and Hydraulics
- 3D Underwater Laser Scanning Equipment Implementation for MnDOT (PDF)
- Fracture-Critical System Analysis for Steel Bridges (PDF)
Traffic and Safety
- Enhanced Safety Rest Area Advance Signs – Pilot Project (PDF)
- SMART Signal System Implementation in Elk River (PDF)
- Optimizing Automatic Traffic Recorder Network and Improve the Association of Short Count Locations with ATRs/ATR Clusters for Choosing Seasonal and Day-of-Week Adjustment Factors (PDF)
- Auto Flagger Assistive Device Contract Amendment and Moving Work Zone (PDF)
- Sinusoidal Rumble Strip Design (PDF)