New Project: Evaluation of Gravel Stabilizer Used on Gravel Roads and Shoulders

Approximately 50% of roads in Minnesota are gravel. The performance and long-term sustainability of such roads depend on the quality of the surface layer. Unbound large particles can form an unstable road surface that becomes rough, developing potholes and corrugations as this material is scattered by vehicles or washed away by rain. As a result, more frequent maintenance and reconstruction is required, which becomes very expensive for Minnesota counties.

Stabilizers are one solution. Gravel roads treated with stabilizers require less maintenance, which translates to less money spent on labor and construction/maintenance equipment usage. While gravel stabilizers improve the performance of roads, their technical performance (stiffness, strength, etc.) and environmental benefits (e.g., greenhouse gas emission reduction and cost savings) need to be quantified. This research will assess the cost savings and environmental benefits of using stabilizers on gravel roads and shoulders.

“Gravel stabilizers have been shown to reduce the need for grading, surface aggregates, and dust control products.  The intent of this research project is to quantify these benefits in relationship to the costs associated with placing gravel stabilizers,” said Terrence Beaudry, MnDOT pavement foundation engineer.


  • Locate the existing sites that have used gravel stabilizers and evaluate their past performance
  • Build a new test site with three to five different stabilizers and evaluate their geo-mechanical (e.g., stiffness, strength, freeze-thaw durability) and environmental (e.g., pH, leaching of elements and dust emission) performance
  • Analyze the benefits of stabilizers in terms of cost savings, long-term service life, and environmental impacts via life-cycle analysis

Project Details

  • Estimated Start Date: 11/30/2022
  • Estimated Completion Date: 06/30/2024
  • Funding: Local Road Research Board & MnDOT
  • Principal Investigator: Bora Cetin
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Annick Anctil
  • Technical Liaison: Terrence Beaudry  

Details of the research study work plan and timeline are subject to change.

To receive email updates about this project, visit MnDOT’s Office of Research & Innovation to subscribe.

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