Category Archives: Maintenance Operations

Innovative Additions Could Help Asphalt Pavements Sense Damage—and Repair Themselves

This article was originally published in Catalyst, January 2022.

University researchers are investigating ways to extend the life of asphalt pavements and generate cost savings by adding innovative materials to asphalt mixes. In a recent study, they found that improving asphalt mixes with graphite nanoplatelets and taconite concentrates offers new possibilities for enhancing damage-detection techniques and restoring subsurface cracking using microwave energy.

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Innovative Materials and Technologies for Sustainable Pavement Infrastructure

In search of enhanced pavement damage detection practices, researchers investigated two innovative additives to asphalt binders: graphite nanoplatelets and taconite concentrates. They also examined the ability of microwave energy to restore subsurface cracking.

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Investigating Pavement Segments With Long-Term Poor Ratings

Researchers investigated pavement segments within MnDOT’s pavement management system that had received a poor ride quality level rating for more than five years. Their investigations showed that for most segments, the true pavement conditions differed from listed ratings due to the pavement segments’ unique characteristics.

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Evaluating Improved Specifications for Retightening Anchor Rods on Support Poles

In this follow-up study, researchers checked the effectiveness of revised specifications for tightening anchor rods on sign and signal support poles. The revised specifications will ensure correct tightening procedures, which will result in better installations and maintenance.

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New Resource for Manhole and Catch Basin Installation

Finding resources that address manhole and catch basin issues occurring in Minnesota can be challenging. In a recent project, researchers surveyed 83 municipalities and interviewed other engineers and product representatives to gather data about manhole and catch basin installation and maintenance practices. The resulting report provides current information for municipal engineers about these essential installations.

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Evaluating Pavement Thickness With 3D Ground-Penetrating Radar

Building on previous MnDOT-sponsored work, researchers have developed a nondestructive method of assessing pavement thickness using 3D ground-penetrating radar (GPR). A vehicle equipped with an array of transmitting and receiving antenna pairs travels at traffic speed collecting full-width GPR data for analysis, minimizing the amount of pavement coring required.

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Edina Studies Snowmelt To Reduce Chlorides From Deicing Operations

In Minnesota’s metro region, areas of shallow groundwater show increasing evidence of chloride contamination from winter road maintenance operations, particularly deicing. More than a quarter show chloride concentrations at the maximum contaminant level for municipal drinking water. In addition, 123 lakes and rivers show chloride impairment or risk of impairment for aquatic life. Chlorides are now considered the second most important threat, after phosphorus, to Minnesota’s urban waters.

The City of Edina, with funding from the Local Road Research Board, hired the University of Minnesota to analyze chloride accumulation in city snowmelt following winter maintenance operations to learn how to most effectively adjust its deicing strategies to reduce chloride contamination.

Over two winters, researchers collected data from city deicing operations and correlated it with chlorides present in meltwater runoff. A sampler box collected data continuously, and snow pile cores were also analyzed. Snowplow operators then examined the results during workshops, yielding innovative ideas for reducing salt use.

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Improving Winter Maintenance: Pilot Testing New Snowplow Technologies

[Infographic] Testing Snowplow Technologies: Slurry Spreader (target direction of salt, reduce salt use, reduce corrosion on trucks), Two-Way Reversible Plow (located on side of plow, providing more mobility in plowing and directing snow), Underbody Scraper (located under plow, clears compacted snow and ice from roads), True-Float Wind (mounted on front or side of plow, providing more mobility in plowing and directing snow)

Every winter, MnDOT ensures Minnesotans can travel safely by plowing more than 30,000 lane miles with approximately 800 snowplows.

In a new research implementation project jointly funded by the Office of Research & Innovation and Office of Maintenance, MnDOT is pilot testing five new pieces of snowplow equipment: two slurry spreaders (one from Henke, one from Swenson), a two-way reversible plow, an underbody scraper and a true-float wing (all from Henke).

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