Category Archives: Maintenance Operations

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).

Continue reading Improving Winter Maintenance: Pilot Testing New Snowplow Technologies

New Project: Have Minnesota’s Warmer Winters Increased the Number of Freeze Thaw Cycles?

Minnesota is experiencing warmer winters and an increase in freeze-thaw events may negatively impact pavement systems. However, the impacts of these recent climate changes on freeze-thaw cycles have not been well studied.

Continue reading New Project: Have Minnesota’s Warmer Winters Increased the Number of Freeze Thaw Cycles?

Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Tradeoffs and Maintenance

This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2020.

Using “green” infrastructure is a useful strategy for handling city stormwater, which may contain deicers and other contaminants from streets and sidewalks. Choosing the right method and ensuring it doesn’t cause unforeseen damage, however, is another matter. 

Continue reading Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Tradeoffs and Maintenance

New Project: The Impact of Deferred Maintenance in Minnesota

Expenditures for maintenance are not keeping pace with the needs of the local transportation system. When local governments face fiscal stress, planned maintenance gets postponed to make funding available for other purposes. As deferred maintenance grows, the work and investments needed to bring an asset into a good condition grow too.

Continue reading New Project: The Impact of Deferred Maintenance in Minnesota

Pavement Preservation Techniques for Local Agencies

Cities and counties need affordable pavement preservation treatments, but preservation strategies are often geared towards higher-volume roads. The Minnesota Local Road Research Board has developed new guidance on five lower-cost treatments that is more applicable to local agencies and can be used to preserve pavements based on the type and severity of pavement distress.

Continue reading Pavement Preservation Techniques for Local Agencies

Promoting Snow Fence Adoption in Minnesota

A new research study has shown that few landowners know about MnDOT’s snow fence program, its benefits to community safety and mobility, and incentives to install snow fences. Following community meetings and surveys in four regions of Minnesota, researchers identified promising promotional methods for the snow fence program, the constraints landowners face in adopting snow fences, and incentives and assistance to improve snow fence adoption. Project results will guide MnDOT’s efforts to expand the use of snow fences around the state

Continue reading Promoting Snow Fence Adoption in Minnesota

Guide for Converting Distressed Low-Volume Paved Roads to Unpaved Roads

Working with an advisory panel of road managers from local agencies, researchers have developed a practitioner-ready guide for converting severely distressed low-volume paved roads to improved, easily maintained gravel roads. The guide includes decision-making tools and an online webinar for training.

Continue reading Guide for Converting Distressed Low-Volume Paved Roads to Unpaved Roads

Detecting Corrosion Early Extends Service Life of Bridge Paint Coating

An evaluation of five maintenance paint coating systems on Minnesota steel bridges with localized corrosion found that each maintenance coating performed well, and, if corrosion is identified early and maintenance painting occurs, the service life of the paint coating system can be extended five years before repainting is required. Based on the test data, researchers recommended an update to MnDOT’s Bridge Maintenance Painting Manual that includes guidance on when to apply maintenance paint coatings and when to remove paint and recoat bridges.

Continue reading Detecting Corrosion Early Extends Service Life of Bridge Paint Coating

Performance Testing of Regional Roadside Turfgrass

Keeping Minnesota’s roadsides green is about more than just aesthetics—healthy turfgrass can improve water quality, reduce erosion and road noise, and provide animal habitat. However, harsh conditions such as heat, drought, and salt use can make it difficult for roadside turfgrass to thrive.

Researchers tested a wide variety of turfgrass cultivars over several growing seasons—in both urban and rural environments across five states.

Continue reading Performance Testing of Regional Roadside Turfgrass