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Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

12/27/23

END DATE

01/31/27

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CP Tech Center
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation
National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) Transportation Pooled Fund

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Peter Taylor

Director, CP Tech Center

About the research

This project will evaluate the performance of a mineral-blended polymeric microsphere powder used to construct concrete pavement test sections at MnRoad. The microsphere concrete mixtures will also be compared with a reference mixture that contains conventional air entrainment and existing mixtures evaluated at MnRoad. Performance will be monitored over a three-year period. The three-fold objectives for evaluating the microsphere mixtures are as follows:

  1. Determine the reductions in cement content that can be achieved with typical pavement concrete mixtures in which air-entraining agents are replaced with the microsphere-powder blend.
  2. Develop test data on strength and freeze-thaw durability for selected concrete mixtures to support application of the microsphere concrete mixtures in pavement construction.
  3. Quantify the sustainability benefits of use of microsphere concrete in lieu of conventional air- entrained concrete mixtures

Laboratory testing on specimens cast during pavement construction will be performed to evaluate strength, modulus of elasticity, resistivity, and freeze-thaw durability. Field data collection will include surface distress surveys, falling weight deflectometer (FWD) testing, ride quality measurements, joint faulting and movement, embedded strain sensor data, ultrasonic tomography (MIRA) testing, curling and warping measurements, and examination of core samples. Results from this project will demonstrate the effectiveness of the mineral-blended polymeric microsphere powder to be used in concrete mixtures to support reductions in cementitious materials content while also supporting freeze-thaw durability. The feasibility of using mineral-blended polymeric microsphere powder in large-scale pavement applications will be evaluated, as well as the impact of use of this material to support both durability performance and reduced environmental impact of concrete. Findings of this work may also support use of mineral-blended polymeric microsphere powder in applications where supplementary cementitious material (SCM) characteristics may cause issues with conventional air-entraining admixtures (e.g., higher carbon fly ash), thus allowing marginal SCMs to be more readily used in concrete.

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

06/26/23

END DATE

12/31/24

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, PROSPER
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation

PARTNERS

Walaa Mogawer, Commonwealth Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Halil Ceylan

Director, PROSPER

Co-Principal Investigator
Sunghwan Kim

Associate Director, PROSPER

Co-Principal Investigator
Peter Taylor

Director, CP Tech Center

About the research

While the demand for using good quality aggregate materials for constructing both highway and local road systems has increased, local availability is often found to be insufficient. The use of recycled waste materials has been used in road construction to the maximum economic and practical extent possible with equal or improved performance. Plastic is a significant contributor to waste generation across the United States. The recent ban on imported plastic waste in developing countries is also forcing US cities and states to take issues related to plastic waste more seriously. Consequently, there is an urgent interest and need to transform plastic waste into useful materials to better to deal with it rather than keeping it in landfills. The objectives of this study are to (1) conduct a synthesis on the use of recycled plastics for roads in combination with the literature review results as part of relevant studies conducted on MnROAD by the National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) and National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT), (2) evaluate the feasibility of using plastic waste within roadway paving (asphalt and concrete), (3) recommend which applications will be most beneficial and practical, (4) work in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to provide a summary of the work being done locally and within the poolfunded studies with NRRA and NCAT, and (5) work with MnDOT/MnROAD to demonstrate the proofofconcept for the beneficial applications and identify practical challenges when it is fully implemented in Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure system.

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

06/12/23

END DATE

11/30/24

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CTRE
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Inya Nlenanya

Research Scientist, CTRE

Co-Principal Investigator
Omar Smadi

Director, CTRE

Co-Principal Investigator
Katherine Madson

About the research

Pedestrian assets are vital components of urban infrastructure systems, as they provide residents with safe access and active mobility. Like any other transportation asset, these are vulnerable to aging, severe weather, and inadequate construction practices that may lead to rapid deterioration. Generally, pedestrian assets are illconceived as lowrisk assets and so, many deteriorated assets go untreated or treated inadequately, resulting in unsatisfactory service levels and maintenance backlogs. As such, pedestrian networks require new and more appropriate approaches for condition assessment to guide budget allocation. Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is obligated to keep an inventory of pedestrian assets, including sidewalks and curb ramps. MnDOT reports on the compliance of assets each year. Condition rating is one measure of compliance. Condition deterioration of pedestrian assets is not well understood or documented. Understanding how, why, and at what rate pedestrian assets deteriorate will significantly improve MnDOT’s ability to forecast funding needs and will improve project scoping and delivery. Compared to the major transportation assets such as pavements or bridges, pedestrian asset management is still at its early stage. While inventory and condition data have provided a solid foundation, developing performance measures and deterioration models is essential for reliable and informed decision-making. In addition, this project will investigate and document how construction materials, design, and maintenance impact asset deterioration. Deterioration models or assessment frameworks can help determine funding needs and impact asset design and maintenance.

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

06/13/23

END DATE

06/30/25

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CMAT
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Katherine Madson
Co-Principal Investigator
Jennifer Shane

Director, CMAT

About the research

Fleet managers are continuously challenged with determining the optimal equipment replacement time based on increasing operation costs and decreasing economic value. In addition, they are challenged with determining if a lease or purchase provides the greatest value. Compounding upon these challenges, new equipment purchases and leases can create a negative perception among the general public. This first phase of this researchwhich consists of a literature review, survey to Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) members, and followup case studiesis strategically designed to understand existing decision support models and methods, quantitative data, and constraints that agencies have when determining the optimal equipment replacement. The second phase of this researchwhich consists of tool development, validation, and trainingis intended to meet the identified challenges and support lifecycle cost analysis (LCCA). This tool will provide quantifiable support for the decisionmaking process, enabling agencies to make defensible decisions.

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

09/21/22

END DATE

06/30/24

SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Christopher Day

Research Scientist, CTRE

Co-Principal Investigator
Nicole Oneyear
Co-Principal Investigator
Anuj Sharma

Co-Director, REACTOR

About the research

Pedestrian safety at signalized intersections can be improved by reducing vehicle-pedestrian conflicts. The right turn on red (RTOR) maneuver is a source of these conflicts, because RTOR drivers must cross the path of crossing pedestrians, while also searching for gaps in conflicting vehicle flow at the same time. One potential treatment to reduce conflicts is to use a dynamic blank out No Right Turn on Red (NRTOR) sign, which provides an illuminated display of the “No Turn on Red” sign that can be deactivated during conditions when it is not needed, such as when there are no pedestrians present. Because the dynamic NRTOR sign is conspicuous, this treatment may increase driver compliance with NRTOR compared to a static sign, and it may increase efficiency by allowing drivers to execute the RTOR movement at other times. However, at present there is very little guidance regarding the use of blank out NRTOR signs, and only a few studies of their potential effects.The objectives of this research are: (1) to better understand the compliance rates of static and dynamic NRTOR signs; (2) to better understand the maintenance requirements of dynamic NRTOR signs; and (3) to develop recommendations for placement of dynamic NRTOR signs in consideration of their effectiveness in improving safety and efficiency and their maintenance needs.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

01/28/22

END DATE

04/23/24

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, PROSPER
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Halil Ceylan

Director, PROSPER

Co-Principal Investigator
In-Ho Cho
Co-Principal Investigator
Sunghwan Kim

Associate Director, PROSPER

Co-Principal Investigator
Eugene S. Takle

About the research

The Midwest region of the United States, including Minnesota, has been experiencing an increase in the number of heavy precipitation events. Historical precipitation data confirmed an increasing trend of heavy precipitation in Minnesota in the 21st century. This study focused on assessing the impact of heavy-precipitation events on moisture levels and stiffness of pavement foundation layers at the MnROAD facility.

A two-step approach was adopted for predicting changes in saturation and for estimating corresponding resilient modulus values using the resilient modulus prediction equation employed in AASHTOWare Pavement Mechanistic-Empirical (ME) design. PLAXIS 3D, a finite element analysis tool, was used to simulate the movement of moisture within the pavement layer under varying heavy rainfall scenarios. Multiple linear regression models were developed from rainfall simulation data of the PLAXIS 3D model to predict base layer saturation based on rainfall characteristics and hydraulic conductivity of the material. ArcGIS Pro was then used to develop a framework to generate a preliminary vulnerability map showing changes in the resilient modulus of the pavement base layer from rain events. Four regression models were developed and used in ArcGIS Pro to predict changes in resilient modulus for distinct aggregate types under heavy rainfall events, revealing significant reductions in the base layer’s resilient modulus. Recycled aggregate (a mix of recycled concrete aggregate and recycled asphalt pavement) emerged as more susceptible, with initial reductions in modulus values higher under heavy rainfall.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

01/01/10

END DATE

10/31/11

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure, Safety

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CTRE
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Neal Hawkins

Director Research Administration, ISU

Co-Principal Investigator
Omar Smadi

Director, CTRE

About the research

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) staff has experienced that pavement markings do not perform well on seal coat and micro surface treated roadways, referred to as “challenging surfaces.” This report serves as a beginning point and organized approach in addressing pavement marking practices on challenging surface roadways.

The project objective was to document existing district practices and issues through several key tasks, which include a literature review, field review, and analysis of existing practice and performance. This effort identified the need for a field trial to provide control in the evaluation of these markings on challenging surfaces. An outline was developed for a future field trial effort, which will evaluate the marking performance of different combinations of pavement marking materials and installation practices.

These project findings will be used in conjunction with the resulting field trial evaluations to improve MnDOT guidance and standard practice that will result in better performance, efficiencies, and roadway safety.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

09/01/06

END DATE

09/30/08

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure, Safety

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CTRE
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Neal Hawkins

Director Research Administration, ISU

Co-Principal Investigator
Omar Smadi

Director, CTRE

About the research

This project summarizes the development of a scalable, reliable, and practical process for viewing, querying, understanding, and making consistent, objective, and cost effective decisions regarding pavement marking needs, durability, and quality. The research team developed a Web-based pavement marking management system through the development environment of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 ASP.NET in conjunction with ESRI’s ArcGIS Sever Enterprise 9.2 SP4 functionalities to manage and produce the GIS map resources. The web site hosting itself was done on a Windows based server operating Internet Information Services (IIS). The resulting web based mapping tool provides MnDOT staff the ability to map and query pavement marking retroreflectivity information and serves as a significant resource to both district and central office staff in developing short and long-term pavement marking plans.

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

05/03/22

END DATE

01/31/26

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CP Tech Center, PROSPER
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation
National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) Transportation Pooled Fund

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Peter Taylor

Director, CP Tech Center

Co-Principal Investigator
Halil Ceylan

Director, PROSPER

About the research

It is becoming increasingly apparent that it is necessary to explore alternative options for cement and concrete production used in public infrastructure to reduce carbon footprint. One possible process is to bubble CO2 in the fresh concrete during production to sequester CO2 and possibly to reduce cement content in the concrete without compromising system performance. Concrete with reduced cement content will exhibit reduced shrinkage reducing the risk of early age cracking. Other CO2 sequestration techniques such as dissolving it in batch water and manufacturing CO2enhanced aggregates also need to be assessed.

Confirming these benefits would be a breakthrough in simultaneously reducing the CO2 footprint while enhancing concrete performance.

Two questions are therefore raised – how much CO2 is sequestered, and what are the effects on the performance of the pavement? The goal of this research is to address these questions through testing, measurements, and the observation of concrete made with CarbonCure technology. The work will also include an assessment of the reduction of the CO2 footprint compared to control mixtures based on determining the amount of CO2 bound in the mixture as well as potential changes in maintenance needs of the pavement over the life of the pavement under traffic and environmental exposure.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

07/03/19

END DATE

01/31/22

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CP Tech Center
SPONSORS

Minnesota Department of Transportation
National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) Transportation Pooled Fund

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Peter Taylor

Director, CP Tech Center

Co-Principal Investigator
Dan King

Research Engineer, CP Tech Center

Co-Principal Investigator
Seyedhamed Sadati

About the research

The use of roundabouts in rural areas of the US is growing rapidly. For roundabouts constructed with concrete pavement, joint layout can be especially challenging. To reduce the need for sophisticated joint layouts, consideration is being given to constructing roundabouts without joints and instead using structural fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC) to bridge any cracks that might occur. In 2018, Minnesota’s first jointless FRC pavement roundabout was constructed at the intersection of Minnesota Trunk Highway 4 and County State Aid Highway 29.

The National Road Research Alliance (NRRA) sponsored a study to document the construction and performance of Minnesota’s first jointless FRC roundabout. One of the key objectives was to carry out a three-year performance monitoring regimen of the roundabout to better understand its in-situ performance when exposed to traffic loading and environmental conditions. This report documents the third-year performance of the roundabout as per the requirements of Task 3 of the work plan.

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