Spring 2014 Vol. 22, No. 2

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Pavements

What makes pavements fail?
At the annual TERRA Pavement Conference on February 5, Ervin Dukatz, vice president of materials and research at Mathy Construction Co., discussed less commonly cited causes of pavement rutting, raveling, and cracking.

Colored concrete pavements: Are they here to stay?
At the TERRA Pavement Conference, MnDOT senior road research engineer Tom Burnham reported on his investigation of early distress in colored concrete pavements. He said colored concrete is growing in popularity and showed several examples where it was used as streetscaping or to delineate paths. 

When is the best time to do preventive maintenance on asphalt pavements?
At the TERRA Pavement Conference, MnDOT research project supervisor Tom Wood discussed a study conducted jointly by MnDOT and the Asphalt Institute. The study’s objective was to determine the best time for preventive maintenance (chip seal) to minimize damage caused by asphalt aging.

TERRA conference materials online
Presentation slides and selected videos are available from the Transportation Engineering and Road Research Alliance (TERRA) Pavement Conference at terraroadalliance.org.

Gravel Roads

Monitoring the condition of gravel roads
Various tools and systems are available for monitoring pavement conditions. Some of these same tools—such as ground-penetrating radar—are also being used to assess the condition of gravel roads. David Rettner, senior vice president and principal engineer with American Engineering Testing, Inc., gives some background.

Video answers common questions about Minnesota’s gravel roads
Businesses and industries depend on gravel roads, as do the people who travel and live along them. Sometimes, these users have questions: Why is a road gravel instead of paved? Why do conditions vary from one gravel road to another? A new, five-minute informational video from the Minnesota Local Road Research Board addresses such common questions and concerns.

Safety

Tips for successful traffic safety programs
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of on- and off-the-job unintentional deaths in the United States. To help combat the tragedy and expense of vehicle crashes, Lisa Kons, continuing education coordinator for the Minnesota Safety Council, encourages employers to incorporate traffic safety policies into company procedures.

Traffic engineering tools for city engineers
For city engineers, fielding questions from concerned citizens, business people, and government officials is part of the job. But finding the right answer to satisfy those concerns is not always easy. Mike Spack, president of Spack Consulting Group, and Marc Culver, city engineer for the City of Roseville, gave tips for handling those inquiries in a lively Q and A at the 2014 City Engineers Association of Minnesota annual conference.

Communications

Social media: It’s here to stay
Social media—use it or avoid it? That is a question many project managers are asking these days. Twitter and other social media tools can be effective for communicating with residents and others before, during, and after a project, but social media has some pitfalls as well, according to three panelists participating in a social media session at the 2014 City Engineers Association of Minnesota annual conference. 

LRRB Update

OPERA annual report shares low-cost innovations
The LRRB’s Local Operational Research Assistance Program (Local OPERA) has published two versions of its 2013 annual report. The short version (16 pages) includes the OPERA projects completed in 2013; the longer version (44 pages) also includes the entries from the National LTAP Association’s Build a Better Mousetrap 2013 competition. Both versions are available for download.

OPERA spotlight: Traffic control response trailer
The City of Lakeville Streets Division purchased a trailer and fabricated racks to store barricades and other traffic control devices. All devices have a designated location where they are placed to allow for quick and easy access when needed and for inventory after each use.

Awards & Committee News

Associations announce annual awards
Each year the City Engineers Association of Minnesota and Minnesota County Engineers Association honor outstanding people and projects. The awards are presented at their annual conferences in January.

Richard Ingberg receives Rohrbach Award
This year’s Gerald Rohrbach Distinguished Service Award was presented at the TERRA Pavement Conference to Richard C. Ingberg. Ingberg is best known as the innovator of the “Minnesota Heat-Transfer Method” for recycling bituminous material.

Steering committee update
Bruce Hasbargen of Beltrami County has joined the Minnesota LTAP Steering Committee. He replaces Rick West of Otter Tail County.

Workshops and Training

Turfgrass pathology course online, awards Roads Scholar credit
This online course from the University of Minnesota now counts as one elective credit in Minnesota LTAP’s Roads Scholar program. The course is designed for anybody who works with turfgrass.

Information Services

The Shelf
Recent publications from various sources.

Roundabouts: new fact sheets
Several new fact sheets are available about roundabouts: Safety and Risk in Modern Urban Roundabouts from the Center for Transportation Studies, Accommodating Trucks in Roundabouts from TERRA, and EDC Intersection Interchange Fact Sheet 21st Century Solutions from the Federal Highway Administration’s Every Day Counts initiative.

Complete Streets guidebook offers insights for implementation
To help Minnesota practitioners implement Complete Streets in their communities, University of Minnesota researchers have published a guidebook filled with practical insights and best practices.

Clear Roads publishes toolkit, toxicity report
Several new materials are available from the Clear Roads pooled-fund project.

MnDOT updates field manual for temporary traffic control
MnDOT has updated the Temporary Traffic Control Zone Layouts Field Manual. The revised edition contains typical traffic control layouts that all state, county, and city roadway operations staff should use.