MnROAD Partnership

In a step to play a larger role in pavement research, a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Road Research facility (MnROAD) is a centerpiece of NCAT’s sixth research cycle. The combination of traffic loading types and the range in climate conditions will provide unique opportunities for this partnership to address important national needs such as pavement preservation and performance issues. The two primary experiments in the partnership will focus on pavement preservation and validation of cracking tests.

Many of the same pavement preservation treatments installed on Lee Road 159 in Auburn will also be investigated at MnROAD to provide a far-reaching impact in advancing pavement research. This parallel study is aimed at producing findings that can be directly implemented by a larger base of state departments of transportation who may have had previous concerns that findings from NCAT were not directly applicable to their climate or pavement surface type.

MnROAD and NCAT will also work with sponsors to develop experiments to validate cracking tests. A critical need at this point in time is a reliable cracking test (or tests) that can be used during mix design and quality assurance during mix production to eliminate mixes that are not durable. There are several lab tests being used or proposed by researchers that claim to relate to one or more modes of cracking. However, most of these tests lack robust validation outside of the state where the method was developed. The experiments at MnROAD and NCAT will help validate the correlation between lab results and field performance and provide much needed data on where to set criteria for specifications.

NCAT and MnROAD are the nation’s two largest full-scale pavement testing facilities where using real construction methods and live trafficking under actual climate conditions provides an authentic environment for researchers to study and evaluate the performance of materials used in roadway construction. Owned and operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation since 1994, MnROAD is a real-life accelerated pavement testing facility committed to providing safer, smarter, and sustainable pavements through innovative research.

Find out more about the NCAT/MnROAD partnership at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/mnroad/ncatpartnership. Slides from the above webinar are available for download here.