Category Archives: Materials and Construction

Optimizing Pavement Network Maintenance

Maintaining Minnesota’s 14,000 miles of pavement is challenging, especially with the growth in traffic volume resulting in system needs that exceed available funding. New ways to characterize pavement conditions and methodologies to determine the optimal maintenance schedule for individual road segments will allow planners to optimize resources while providing the highest possible ride quality across the pavement network.

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Research Pays Off Webinar Series: Intelligent Compaction Technology as a Service and for Compliance

The National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) is hosting “Intelligent Compaction Technology as a Service and for Compliance – How ICT Research has led to the Removal of Technicians from Construction Sites in the UK” on March 15 at 10 a.m. CST, presented by Ruairi Charlesworth of Highway Data Systems.

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Quantifying the Benefits of Improved Compaction

Compaction is the final and most critical step in asphalt pavement construction. National research conducted several years ago indicated that a slightly more compact pavement than typical could help roads last longer. To understand the relationship between pavement density and long-term performance, MnDOT has built a database with performance data from samples collected soon after they were constructed more than a decade ago. The agency hopes to eventually have enough data to determine the right amount of compaction. 

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Quantifying the Effect of Geogrids in Asphalt Pavement Foundation Layers

Geogrid inserted between the layers of asphalt pavement during construction can increase the strength and durability of the finished road. To help engineers decide whether to use geogrids in road construction projects, researchers calculated just how much strength and durability geogrid material can add to an asphalt pavement and integrated the findings into MnDOT’s design software.

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New Project: Evaluation of Corrugated HDPE Pipes Manufactured with Recycled Content

Historically, federal regulations have required that MnDOT use pipes made with all-new materials in various applications, such as redirecting stormwater under roadways. However, recent changes to these regulations have made it possible for the agency to also consider pipes made with recycled materials, which could provide MnDOT with more options when choosing products for future projects.

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New Project: Evaluation of Proprietary Rejuvenators

A wide range of proprietary spray-on asphalt rejuvenators are available on the market. A National Road Research Alliance field study has been initiated to monitor the performance of some vendors’ materials on test sections over the next five to 10 years. Local agencies are interested in learning more about the many products on the market.

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New Project: Pavement Marking/Colored Pavement Friction Differential and Product Durability

Pavement markings contain glass media to provide retroreflectivity. These markings are slipperier than surrounding pavement. The sudden difference in friction between pavement and pavement markings can create a safety hazard for pedestrians (including those with disabilities), bicyclists and motorcyclists, especially during wet conditions.

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New Project: Benefits of Preventive Concrete Pavement Maintenance

Early preventive maintenance of concrete pavement—maintenance performed in the first five to seven years of pavement life—is a low-cost way to increase pavement service life. But no quantitative evaluations of service life extension have been conducted that compare early intervention to late or no intervention.

Without these comparisons, meaningful determinations of pavement life extension operations cannot be made. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research has found that agency projects focused on the end-of-service life may redirect funds from rehabilitation projects that could improve overall system quality.

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Evaluating Cracking Resistance Test Methods for Asphalt Pavements

A new method of testing low-temperature cracking in asphalt pavement shows promise for design, quality control and quality assurance. Test results produced by the new method, which is faster and less expensive than the previous method, match well with results from the older method. 

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