Summer 2014 Vol. 22, No. 3

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Sustainable pavements: the journey ahead
At the February 5 TERRA Pavement Conference, Kurt Smith, program director at Applied Pavement Technology, Inc., updated attendees on sustainable pavements. Smith leads an FHWA program working to increase knowledge and use of sustainable pavement technologies and practices.

Gravel road management: the most important issues
At the Road Dust Best Management Practices Conference on February 3, South Dakota LTAP program manager and gravel road expert Ken Skorseth outlined an effective gravel road management strategy.

Testing asphalt pavements with infrared and GPR
MnDOT engineers Greg Johnson and Shongtao Dai co-presented at the TERRA Pavement Conference in February on the use of infrared and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) for testing asphalt pavements. Shongtao and Johnson used both of these test modalities to assess the uniformity of initial compaction density in asphalt pavements.

GopherCalc to improve diagnosis of pavement problems
U of M researchers created a new software tool for field engineers called GopherCalc. This new software package combines the analysis of both falling weight deflectometer and ground penetrating radar data into a single tool.

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


Roadway Safety Institute focuses on solutions for multiple modes
The new Roadway Safety Institute, a $10.4 million regional University Transportation Center established in late 2013, will conduct a range of research, education, and technology transfer initiatives related to transportation safety. Led by the University of Minnesota, the two-year consortium will develop and implement user-centered safety solutions across multiple modes.

Initiative creates tools for counting bicyclists and pedestrians
U of M researchers have partnered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Department of Health, and several other state and local agencies to develop general guidance and consistent methods for counting bicyclists and pedestrians in Minnesota.

LRRB Update

Concrete flatwork specs updated
An update of the Minnesota Concrete Flatwork Specifications is now available. First published in 2012, the document provides specs for local agencies and the concrete industry to follow as they move through the life of a local concrete project.

Video: “Why Aren’t They Working on My Road?”
A new video from the LRRB—Why Aren’t They Working on My Road?—helps the public understand why some bad roads aren’t always fixed first. The seven-minute video explains what causes road pavements to deteriorate and why it may be more cost-effective to put maintenance dollars into roads that still have life left in them versus roads that are in the worst condition.

OPERA spotlight: Versatile spraying unit
Nicollet County’s existing method of spraying noxious weeds and brush sites was slow, unsafe, and inefficient. The county designed and fabricated a versatile spraying unit. The unit consists of a mountable platform that contains tanks, hoses, and a pump, which can be easily installed on and removed from an existing flatbed one-ton county pickup truck.

Workshops and Training

Maintenance Training & Demo Day: Cargo, gravel, vegetation, and more!
The Minnesota Roadway Maintenance Training and Demo Day, an annual offering from Minnesota LTAP, was held this year in Alexandria on May 15.

Roads Scholars honored at graduation ceremony
The latest graduates of the Roads Scholar program received a certificate of achievement during a ceremony at the 2014 Minnesota Roadway Maintenance Training and Demo Day in Alexandria.

APWA-MN offers roads training for underground utility inspectors
This fall, the Minnesota chapter of the American Public Works Association will offer its next round of training designed to provide underground utility inspection professionals with critical knowledge and skills to expertly and confidently complete their responsibilities.


Twitter 101: tweet your news to residents
Whether it’s news about a resurfacing project or a flooded road, residents increasingly expect accurate and frequent updates. Social media tools such as Twitter can help you meet their needs. Here’s some advice for setting up an account.


Sidewalk replacement contributes to Minneapolis tree loss
To better understand the higher-than-normal losses from a June 2013 windstorm, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board turned to the U’s Urban Forestry Outreach, Research and Extension lab. The major finding is that replacing the sidewalk increased the odds of root failure by 2.24 times.

Information Services

Culvert repair: best practices guide
To help engineers identify and apply the best repair techniques for specific problems, MnDOT recently produced a best practices guide for culvert repair.

New from MnDOT, LRRB
Floating Weir System; Tools for Pavement Design and Management; Traffic Data Collection Improvements

The Shelf
Recent publications from various sources