For most road crews, repairing potholes is an essential and highly visible duty. Choosing the best or most cost-effective pothole repair method, however, has remained a complicated puzzle.
“Selecting the appropriate patching method and materials varies depending on several factors, including the size of the pothole and its location on the roadway,” says Manik Barman, an assistant professor with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Department of Civil Engineering. “Patching methods and materials also face seasonal challenges in Minnesota when asphalt plants shut down for the winter, turning cold-weather repairs into short-term fixes.”
To help solve this puzzle, the Minnesota Department of Transportation funded research to help road crews choose patching methods that match specific repair conditions. UMD researchers explored patching tools, materials, and methods to identify which ones were most appropriate for specific pothole conditions, road locations, and time of year. They also evaluated the effectiveness of different methods based on durability, road safety, ride quality, and driver satisfaction.
In a recent project, the Alaska Department of Transportation used a byproduct of Minnesota’s taconite mining industry for a section of the Alaska Glenn Highway.
The taconite byproduct—Mesabi sand—serves as the aggregate of a sand-seal treatment for a 4,600-foot stretch of the highway just north of Anchorage. Sand seals are an application of a sealer, usually an emulsion, immediately followed by a light covering of a fine aggregate (the sand).
Larry Zanko, senior research program manager of the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth, was the on-site representative for the taconite sand analysis.
Last month, CTS debuted two videos about the many contributions U of M researchers have made—and are still making—in traffic operations and pavement design.
The videos are one of the ways CTS is marking 30 years of transportation innovation. Our goal is to show how research progresses over time—from curiosity to discovery to innovation. The videos also show how U of M research meets the practical needs of Minnesotans in the Twin Cities metro and throughout the state.
U of M researchers have received funding from MnDOT’s Transportation Research Innovation Group and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) for 15 new projects beginning this summer.
Researchers will tackle a number of big transportation questions: How should our transportation agencies prepare for connected vehicle technology? Are unseen factors affecting safety at rural intersections? Can Twin Cities roadsides be used to grow habitat for endangered bumble bees?
Posted in Bridges and structures
, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
, Traffic operations
, Transportation research
, Urban transportation
In Minnesota, the combination of traffic and extreme weather can turn small pavement problems into big potholes. To make progress in the seemingly unending task of pothole repair, U of M researchers are designing durable patches and repairs that are quick to apply and less costly for maintenance budgets.
In a new report, researchers present two improved options for pothole repair that are ideally suited to Minnesota’s cold and wet conditions. The first approach is a fast-setting, taconite-based compound, which was found to be especially well-suited for rigid and relatively deep repairs in concrete pavements. The second approach uses a vehicle-based microwave heating system with taconite materials for in-place pothole and pavement repair; this technology proved very effective for repairing potholes in asphalt pavement at all temperatures, including very cold temperatures.
A new machine at the U of M Duluth (UMD) will help pavement researchers test the quality of asphalt mixtures and determine how well they hold up against wear and tear.
CTS affiliated researcher Manik Barman in UMD’s Department of Civil Engineering received a 2016 Research Infrastructure Investment Program award from the U of M’s Office of the Vice President for Research to purchase the new machine—an Asphalt Mixture Performance Tester.
CTS Scholar Jia-Liang Le, an assistant professor in the U of M’s Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering (CEGE), was named Young Engineer of the Year for 2015 by the American Society of Civil Engineers-Minnesota.
The award honors the contributions of young members in the Minnesota section of ASCE. Le is an active member of ASCE and of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), and he is involved with many technical committees and conferences.