Cold Climate Operations and Systems

Through innovation and multi-disciplinary partnerships, the Cold Climate Operations and Systems program researches these effects on transportation systems in order to mitigate challenges and concerns. Our problem-driven research emphasizes the development and evaluation of winter maintenance materials, technologies and systems to aid in best practices and decision making.

The WTI Cold Climate Operations and Systems (CCOS) Program aims to research and mitigate winter and its effects on transportation systems through innovation and multi-disciplinary partnerships. To this end, we serve as a bridge between industry and academia and conduct problem-driven research, with emphases on the development and evaluation of materials, technologies and systems to support winter maintenance best practices and decision making for sustainable transportation systems.

Team Culture

The Cold Climate Operations and Systems (CCOS) program is committed to maintaining a dynamic, enjoyable team environment that listens to end-user needs, encourages innovative thinking, and stimulates inter-disciplinary partnerships, with the ultimate goal of effecting positive changes to society and industry.  Currently our team features a diverse combination of expertise in civil engineering, corrosion science, electrochemistry, polymer chemistry, materials science and engineering, environmental science, toxicology, numerical modeling, industrial engineering, and transportation engineering.

The Challenge

In the United States and Canada, transportation agencies manage roads in cold climates and extreme weather conditions, in addition to the typical challenges of day-to-day operations of maintaining an efficient and safe road network.  During inclement weather when driving conditions deteriorate, transportation practitioners must ensure the safety, mobility and productivity of winter highways.  They must also understand, address, and mitigate the long-term effects of winter weather and maintenance on the condition and longevity of the infrastructure and equipment. Agencies must find the right balance in meeting multiple goals of – maintenance, safety, mobility, environmental stewardship, infrastructure preservation, and economics.

What We Do

With our in-house research staff and affiliated faculty, we offer inter-disciplinary teams that work to find solutions for complex user needs. Examples of our research experience and capabilities :

  • Cold-climate testing and evaluation of infrastructure construction materials
  • Development of advanced sensors to improve detection and monitoring of severe weather conditions
  • Analyses of the effectiveness and impacts of anti-icing and deicing products
  • Cost-effectiveness studies of winter operation practices
  • Development of winter weather severity indices, and other decision management tools.

Our Research Partners

We work regularly with public, private and academic partners to expand the reach and depth of our multi-disciplinary approach and capabilities.

WTI plays a leadership role in the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Winter Maintenance.

Over the last 20 years, we have produced nationally recognized and relevant research for federal, national, regional, and state sponsors.  We are proud to have long-standing relationships and research partnerships with:

  • Center for Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
  • ClearRoads Research Consortium
  • Pacific Northwest Snowfighters Association
  • Aurora Consortium
  • USDOT, National Cooperative Highway Research Programs
  • World Bank
  • National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board, Committee on Winter Maintenance
  • American Public Works Association

Contact us to find out how to put this multi-disciplinary group to work for you and fast-track your needs for problem-driven, solution-oriented research.

Show Only Projects Pertaining To…

7 Projects

Quantifying Salt Concentration On Pavement, Phase 2

Started April, 2016

The objectives of this research project are to identify existing and developing technology for mobile chloride detection that provide real time data, test the feasibility and reliability of the technology, and determine if this technology can be used real time by winter maintenance practitioners in the decision making process.. .

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7 Projects

Show Only Projects Pertaining To…

78 Projects

North American Study on Contracting Snow and Ice Response

Started November, 2015

The final report included the following conclusions based on the literature review, survey, and synthesis of information:

Much of the available information on contracted services is provided in the context of general maintenance, and only rarely specifically addresses contracted services for winter
maintenance operations.
The main reasons for agencies to seek contractors for snow and ice response include: 1) lack of resources, 2) a state-level movement toward outsourcing or privatization, and 3)
cost comparisons.
In general, winter maintenance agencies use four types of contracting methods for snow and ice response: 1) rental agreements or short-term contracts, 2) defined amount of work
or recurring work contracts, 3) blended forces and 4) asset management and public-private partnership contracts.
Performance-Based Maintenance Contracts (PBMC) are increasingly popular in the United States and Canada. In PBMC, winter maintenance agencies usually set a minimum Level
of Service (LOS) and response time to measure the performance.
In most cases, winter maintenance agencies tend to rely on contractors to provide their own snow and ice equipment. Conversely, snow and ice control material (salt, sand, etc.) are
commonly provided by the winter maintenance agencies.
Studies have shown the need for minimum standards for the equipment used by contractors such as replacement time of aging equipment and upgrading to new technologies.
It is generally perceived that urbanized areas, which have a higher density of contracting firms, are a more favorable environment to use contractors for snow and ice control
functions

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Use of Equipment Lighting During Snowplow Operation

Started November, 2014

The final report includes numerous recommendations for agencies to help them select the right lighting package, mounting location and available technologies to improve the illumination for snow operators and travelling public. Highlights include: 1) LEDs are favored for use in new vehicles, retrofits, and replacements due to improved visibility.
However, it is important to have some mechanism to keep the lights clear of snow because LEDs do not produce enough heat to melt snow and ice off the light surface.
2) For warning lights, amber is the color most commonly used for warning lights

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Quantifying Salt Concentration on Pavement

Started November, 2014

The objectives of this research project are to identify existing and developing technology for mobile chloride detection that can provide real time data, test the feasibility and reliability of the technology, and determine if this technology can be used real time by winter maintenance practitioners in the decision making process.. .

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Converting Paved Roads to Unpaved

Started November, 2014

The survey conducted for this project identified 48 local, state, and federal agencies that have conducted road conversions and nine more that are considering this action. Almost 70 conversion
projects were identified and a total of 550 miles of road converted to unpaved.  In seeking a cost-effective alternative to continued maintenance and repair of deteriorating pavement, agencies have begun to recognize that many roads with very low traffic volumes can be maintained more economically and at a higher level of service with an unpaved or granular surface.

 

Final Report available in documents below or through the TRB (National Academies of Sciences) website.

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Center for Environmental Sustainability

Started March, 2014

The objective of this Center is to systematically engineer environmentally sustainable transportation infrastructures in cold climates, considering the entire life cycle of transportation lanning, design, materials selection, construction, maintenance and operations, preservation, and recycling through the collaboration of academia, industry, and other stakeholders.

 . .

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Developing a Snow and Ice Control Environment Best Management Practices Manual

Started December, 2013

Through this project, a manual on environmental best management practices used for snow and ice control was developed using information gain from a literature review, survey, and follow-up interviews. The document presents information on commonly used snow and ice control products and their potential impacts, and pathways into the environment. In addition, the manual includes information on many aspects of snow and ice control operations from material handling and storage, application techniques and equipment, advanced technology for decision making, environmental management tools, pre-storm to mid-storm practices, post storm clean-up, and training

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Understanding the Effectiveness of Non-Chloride Liquid Agricultural By-Products and Solid Complex Chloride/Mineral Products Used in Snow and Ice Control Operations

Started December, 2013

The final report contains a Best Practices Manual, which includes the following: parameters for effective use of agricultural and mineral by-products based on analysis of the existing literature, survey responses, and lab testing; specifications that can be used in procurement for each product; and application and storage guidelines.. .

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Cost-Benefit of Various Winter Maintenance Strategies

Started December, 2013

As detailed in the Final Report and Research Brief, nearly all winter maintenance practices reviewed through this project had a high benefit-cost ratio. Plowing had a particularly high ratio, with benefits 5.3 times the costs. The use of deicing or anti-icing agents, including liquid sodium chloride, corrosion-inhibited salt brine, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride and blended products, was also extremely effective, with benefit-cost ratios between 3.5 and 4.0

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Best Practices for the Prevention of Corrosion of Department of Transportation Equipment: A User’s Manual

Started December, 2013

Through this project, the research team developed a user-friendly manual that documents best practices for managing the risk of equipment corrosion, especially in the presence of chemical deicers. The audience for this manual includes operators, mechanics and garage-level supervisors. The manual defines the basic corrosion conditions, with a focus on the need for managing corrosion risks, common modes of corrosion failure, and corrosion-prone parts (priorities) on DOT equipment

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Optimization of Salt Storage for County Garage Facilities

Started September, 2013

The objective of this project will be to conduct an analysis of the salt dome facilities utilized by ODOT to store road salt for winter maintenance operations, in order to identify practices and onsite modifications that can improve salt loading and storage at ODOT salt domes and enhance worker safety.. .

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Highway User Expectations for ITD Winter Maintenance

Started June, 2013

The final report summarizes research to obtain a better understanding of Idaho highway user expectations for the Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) winter maintenance efforts. Input about Idaho resident preferences for winter maintenance was obtained through a web-based survey and focus groups meetings. Idaho residents were generally satisfied with ITD’s winter maintenance operations, and 3 out of 4 felt safe on Idaho’s highways following winter storm events

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Benefit-Cost Analysis of CDOT Fixed Automated Spray Technology (FAST) System

Started November, 2012

As described in the final report, WTI conducted research on behalf of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to study the cost effectiveness of existing CDOT FAST systems. Both the national survey and the CDOT survey confirm the need for significant maintenance activities to ensure successful operation of FAST systems. Safety analysis of CDOT FAST system reveals a reduction in the number of annual crashes on multilane rural highways by 2 percent, urban interstates by 16 to 70 percent, rural interstates by 31 to 57 percent and interchange ramps between interstates by 19 to 40 percent

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Snow Removal at Extreme Temperatures

Started March, 2012

As discussed in greater detail in the final report, extremely cold winter storms (below about 10°F) bring about different considerations for taking care of roads than warmer winter storms, where granular salt and salt brine are cost‐effective measures of melting snow and ice when used in combination with other operations (e.g., plowing). At temperatures lower than about 10°F, either extremely large quantities of salt are needed or no amount of salt can melt snow or ice pack. Best practices for using chemicals during extremely cold winter storms include: waiting until the end of the storm, using deicers in daylight hours only, mixing salt with MgCl2, CaCl2, and/or agriculture by‐products, and using high application rates

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Understanding and Mitigating the Effects of Chloride Deicer Exposure In Concrete

Started August, 2011

As described in the final report, field and laboratory investigations were conducted to examine the effects of chloride deicers on concrete bridge decks and to identify and evaluate best practices and products to mitigate such effects. The concrete bridge decks exposed to KAc or MgCl2 deicer showed significant reductions in their compressive strength, splitting tensile strength and microhardness, whereas those exposed to NaCl deicer and without signs of surface distress did not. Visual inspection would be misleading for assessing the condition of concrete bridge decks exposed to MgCl2 deicer, as the chemical attack by MgCl2 generally does not exhibit apparent signs of distress

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Models for Estimating the Benefits for Winter Maintenance Operations

Started August, 2011

As described further in the final report, the research team established and tested several approaches to estimate the benefits of winter highway maintenance. To estimate safety benefits, a Negative Binomial model was established to predict the number of crashes that could be expected to occur under different winter maintenance scenarios. The changes (ideally reductions) in crashes and the financial savings as a result of improved maintenance represent the benefits of winter maintenance on safety.
Travel time savings resulting from differences in travel speeds over road segments under different levels of winter maintenance were established as the method to estimate the second category of quantifiable benefits of winter maintenance

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Develop Locally Sourced Salt Brine Additive for Anti-Icing

Started August, 2011

The objective of this project is to determine if local agricultural products or byproducts of local distilleries/breweries or other manufacturing processes could be cost-effectively used to replace high-cost proprietary products to enhance the performance characteristics of salt brine for anti-icing on Alaska roads.. .

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Understanding and Mitigating Effects of Chloride Deicer Exposure on Concrete

Started August, 2011

As described in the final report, field and laboratory investigations were conducted to examine the effects of chloride deicers on concrete bridge decks and to identify and evaluate best practices and products to mitigate such effects. The concrete bridge decks exposed to KAc or MgCl2 deicer showed significant reductions in their compressive strength, splitting tensile strength and microhardness, whereas those exposed to NaCl deicer and without signs of surface distress did not. Visual inspection would be misleading for assessing the condition of concrete bridge decks exposed to MgCl2 deicer, as the chemical attack by MgCl2 generally does not exhibit apparent signs of distress

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A Corrosion Monitoring System for Existing Reinforced Concrete Structure

Started August, 2011

As described in the final report, this study developed and evaluated in the laboratory a multi-parameter corrosion monitoring system for existing reinforced concrete structures in chloride-laden service environments. The study improved and validated the SwRI corrosion sensor prototype for use in the concrete corrosion monitoring system; developed algorithms for quality control and interpretation of the sensor data; made viable recommendations to implement the corrosion monitoring system for existing DOT inventories of RC bridges; and delivered a deployable prototype corrosion sensing system for DOTs to continue field evaluations. The performance and reliability of the SwRI corrosion sensor were confirmed by the benchmark test in simulated concrete pore solutions

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Understanding and Mitigating the Effects of Chloride Deicer Exposure on Concrete – UTC

Started August, 2011

As described in the final report, field and laboratory investigations were conducted to examine the effects of chloride deicers on concrete bridge decks and to identify and evaluate best practices and products to mitigate such effects. The concrete bridge decks exposed to KAc or MgCl2 deicer showed significant reductions in their compressive strength, splitting tensile strength and microhardness, whereas those exposed to NaCl deicer and without signs of surface distress did not. Visual inspection would be misleading for assessing the condition of concrete bridge decks exposed to MgCl2 deicer, as the chemical attack by MgCl2 generally does not exhibit apparent signs of distress

See Full Project »

WADOT Best Practices for Protecting DOT Equipment from the Corrosive Effect of Chemical Deicers

Started May, 2011

As described in the final report, this study has identified, evaluated and synthesized the best practices that can be implemented to minimize the corrosive effects of chloride deicers on DOT winter application equipment and vehicles. The practices identified include: design improvements, maintenance practices, anti-corrosion coatings, corrosion inhibitors, salt removers, etc. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to gather existing research documents that are relevant to the corrosion of metals by chloride salts, with a focus on corrosion under neutral pH conditions and under ambient temperature and pressure

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Evaluating the Effectiveness of Winter Chemicals on Reducing Crashes in Idaho

Started April, 2011

This research was performed for the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) to investigate the safety issues involved with winter maintenance and to identify the most cost-effective and environmentally sound ways of using winter chemicals. The results are summarized in detail in the final report. Through lab testing, it was determined that the performance difference between salt brines and solid salts was insignificant, but brines posed less risk to vehicles, infrastructure and the natural environment

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A Corrosion Monitoring System for Existing Reinforced Concrete Structures

Started March, 2011

As described in the final report, this study developed and evaluated in the laboratory a multi-parameter corrosion monitoring system for existing reinforced concrete structures in chloride-laden service environments. The study improved and validated the SwRI corrosion sensor prototype for use in the concrete corrosion monitoring system; developed algorithms for quality control and interpretation of the sensor data; made viable recommendations to implement the corrosion monitoring system for existing DOT inventories of RC bridges; and delivered a deployable prototype corrosion sensing system for DOTs to continue field evaluations. The performance and reliability of the SwRI corrosion sensor were confirmed by the benchmark test in simulated concrete pore solutions

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Best Practices and Guidelines for Protecting DOT Equipment from the Corrosive Effect of Chemical Deicers

Started January, 2011

As described in the final report, the survey results suggest that chloride-based deicers are the most commonly used products for highway winter maintenance operations and pose significant corrosion risk to DOT equipment and vehicles. The survey results show that chloride deicers pose the most significant risk of metallic corrosion to dump trucks followed by liquid deicer applicators, front end loaders and hoppers. Most metallic components on vehicles and equipment are very vulnerable to chloride deicer corrosion, and this risk is especially high for electrical wiring, frames, brackets and supports, brake air cans, brake drums and disks, spreader chute, fittings, and granular hopper

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Corrosion Monitoring System for Existing Reinforced Concrete Structures – UTC

Started January, 2011

As described in the final report, this study developed and evaluated in the laboratory a multi-parameter corrosionmonitoring system for existing reinforced concrete structures in chloride-laden service environments. The study improved and validated the SwRI corrosion sensor prototype for use in the concrete corrosion monitoring system; developed algorithms for quality control and interpretation of the sensor data; made viable recommendations to implement the corrosion monitoring system for existing DOT inventories of RC bridges; and delivered a deployable prototype corrosion sensing system for DOTs to continue field evaluations. The performance and reliability of the SwRI corrosion sensor were confirmed by the benchmark test in simulated concrete pore solutions

See Full Project »

Best Practices for Protecting DOT Equipment from the Corrosion Effect of Chemical Deicers – UTC

Started November, 2010

As described in the final report, this study has identified, evaluated and synthesized the best practices that can be implemented to minimize the corrosive effects of chloride deicers on DOT winter application equipment and vehicles. The practices identified include: design improvements, maintenance practices, anti-corrosion coatings, corrosion inhibitors, salt removers, etc. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to gather existing research documents that are relevant to the corrosion of metals by chloride salts, with a focus on corrosion under neutral pH conditions and under ambient temperature and pressure

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Testing Methodology for Performance Characteristics and Friction Coefficient of Deicing and Anti-icing Chemicals

Started March, 2010

The existing laboratory tests are limited in their ability to predict field performance and friction coefficient of deicers for several reasons. Traffic, humidity, pavement temperature and condition, presence of solar or thermal radiation, and active precipitation and wind are all factors that are often overlooked in lab tests. Most importantly, previous studies are not typically correlated to results from field tests.

Test methods identified during the extensive literature search will provide a more complete picture of previous research

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National Scan of Best Practices for Road Dust Control and Soil Stabilization

Started August, 2009

The purpose of the National Scan is to examine programs and practices employed by different governmental agencies and contractors that result in effective dust control and/or soil stabilization on unpaved roads. The driving force behind this scan is that road dust and/or the additives used in its control pose a myriad of health, safety, economic, regulatory, and environmental challenges..

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Development of a Toolkit for Cost-Benefit Analysis of Specific Winter Maintenance Practices, Equipment and Operations

Started December, 2008

This project is expected to benefit states by simplifying the process by which cost-benefit analysis can be completed. The toolkit will calculate the costs and benefits associated with winter maintenance practices, equipment and operations; by providing this information in an understandable format, managers will be able to justify expenditures on new products and technologies.

In addition, this information will help winter highway maintenance engineers to make more informed decisions regarding new products. Such evaluations will also help users understand how a product may work in their operations and help better match practices, equipment and/or operations to their specific roadway environment and level-of-service requirements.

In the long-term, DOT personnel who use the toolkit to select the optimal practices, equipment and operations may be able to improve the level of service, reduce the winter maintenance costs, and reduce the corrosion and environmental impacts due to snow and ice control operations.

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Evaluation of the UDOT Weather Operations/RWIS Program on Traffic Operations

Started September, 2008

Phase I of the evaluation focused on developing an internal business case for the Weather Operations/RWIS program, in other words to demonstrate its effectiveness to the Utah Department of Transportation by documenting its benefits to the winter maintenance and construction divisions.

This project provides an opportunity to expand the evaluation to look at the program’s impacts on other divisions. This will provide a more complete picture of how the program has benefited the agency. Also, this research will help establish a nationwide prototype of the unique program with stationed meteorologists that provide year-round and area-specific weather forecasts to various users.  As Aurora represents several U.S

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Inhibitor Longevity and Deicer Performance Study

Started January, 2008

The objective of this research is to evaluate the cost effectiveness of corrosion inhibitors in deicing chemicals, and their longevity when in storage or on the road. The project also aims to establish a reliable measure to quantify the performance of anti-icing and deicing chemicals..

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Lab Investigation of Deicer Impacts on Concrete Microstructure and Pavement Friction Coefficient

Started January, 2008

This research examined the impacts of various deicer products on the microstructure of concrete and the friction coefficient of pavement materials. As such, this project will further the understanding of deicer performance, which will assist the Colorado Department of Transportation in their current research efforts to identify safe and effective alternative deicer products.

In the long-term, the research may allow all DOTs to utilize better decision-making and management practices with respect to reducing the amount of chemicals and cost for snow and ice removal operations while providing safe, reliable winter highways for the traveling public.  These findings may help DOT professionals to use a more comprehensive and systematic approach to selecting deicer products, an approach that considers not only cost and effectiveness, but also corrosive and environmental impacts.  In addition, bridge and pavement engineers may be able to use this information to improve design specifications for structures such as roads and bridges..

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Development of Standardized Test Procedures for Evaluating Deicing Compounds

Started November, 2007

The research results will benefit states by identifying/developing standard tests that address deicer evaluation criteria in addition to existing PNS tests. This research is also expected to provide significant information on which to base the selection and potentially pricing of deicers and inhibitors. This will lead to best practices by transportation agencies that apply the right type and amount of materials in the right place at the right time for snow and ice control.

This research is expected to significantly advance the knowledge base for winter maintenance best practices, and thus help maintenance agencies address the challenge in meeting multiple priorities in safety, mobility, environmental stewardship, and infrastructure preservation in a fiscally responsible manner

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Impacts of Airport Pavement Deicing Products on Aircraft & Airfield Infrastructure

Started March, 2007

Researchers will determine through the collection and assessment of available data whether the use of particular PDPs have been seen to result in damage to pavements or aircraft components, and whether adjusting PDP formulations can mitigate those effects. The research may also result in suggestions for modifications in the manufacture of components and the construction of runways.

 

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Validating the Durability of Corrosion Resistant Mineral Admixture Concrete (04-GS108)

Started June, 2006

Corrosion of reinforced and prestressed concrete structures is a major and increasing problem worldwide. Possibly half of the US’s 500,000 bridges require immediate attention and the total repair bill is estimated at $90 billion (Dunker and Rabbat, 1993).  The remediation of concrete bridges in the US, undertaken as a direct result of chloride-induced corrosion of the reinforcing steel, would cost the US highway departments $5 billion per year (FHWA, 1999).

 

Caltrans owns and maintains approximately 15,000 bridges with spans over 20 feet, and there are an equal number in the city and county systems.  Caltrans construction (primarily bridge construction) averaged almost $1.3 billion per year over the 1988-1992 period, and the majority of California highway bridges are prestressed or reinforced structures (Hampson and Fischer, 1997).  In both types of structures, the corrosion of steel reinforcement in concrete is a significant problem.

 

The cost of maintenance and rehabilitation required to reserve the structural integrity and overall safety of Caltrans highway structures is phenomenal. Repeated rehabilitation and repair also incur a significant environmental toll, as well as the delays caused by closing roads or bridges.   On the other hand, appropriate design for corrosion protection would generate substantial cost savings for the Department by minimizing the premature rehabilitation or failure of highway bridges and reducing the construction costs.

The research will produce valuable information to be used by the Caltrans Design Engineer and may lead to improvements to the current Caltrans BDS in mitigating chloride-induced corrosion and deterioration.  In addition to the validation of corrosion mitigation design assumptions, the research results will also assist the Department to rapidly evaluate concrete mixes designed with new mineral admixtures, allowing implementation of cost-effective corrosion mitigation strategies while providing safe and reliable structures for the traveling public.

This research could lead to additional research phases as necessary, such as the development and field evaluation of various types of high performance corrosion resistant concretes.  With extended service life and reduced need for costly and difficult repair and rehabilitation of bridge structures, the implementation of better design practices will have immediate positive impact on the California highway system, including cost savings, enhanced traveler safety, reduced traveler delays, and minimized environmental impacts.

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Evaluation of Alternate Anti-Icing & Deicing Compounds Using Sodium Chloride & Magnesium Chloride as Baseline Deicers

Started June, 2006

Project Objective
The overall goal of this project was to evaluate potassium acetate (KA) and sodium acetate/formate blend deicers (or possibly potassium formate) as alternative anti-icing and deicing compounds relative to NaCl salt-sand mixtures and MgCl2 (baseline deicers) based on various criteria specified by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).. .

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Synthesis of Info on Anti-Icing/Pre-Wetting

Started September, 2004

The purpose of this project was to develop a large volume of reference material, a detailed research document and brochure on the advantages and disadvantages of the use of anti-icing and pre-wetting for winter maintenance in the Pacific Northwest.. .

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Materials Corrosion Laboratory: Evaluating Common Corrosion Inhibited Deicers

Started December, 2003

During the winter season in the northern states, large amounts of solid and liquid chemicals, known as deicers, are applied on the roadways to ensure continued mobility, safety, and productivity. While maintaining safe winter driving conditions, the deicers are arguably a great concern as the source of corrosion of vehicles and pavements.  In addition, the use of deicers also causes corrosion of reinforcing bars (rebars) in concrete and lead to structural failures before the design life of transportation infrastructure is attained..

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Winter Surface Condition Forecasting

Started October, 2001

The purpose of this project was to extend the knowledge that has been gained in the winter highway forecasting of pavement temperatures modeling and draw upon the well established snow and ice competency which has historically been a strength at MSU.

 . .

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Assess Caltrans Road Weather Information System (RWIS) Devices and Related Sensors

Started June, 2001

Caltrans Roadway Weather Information Systems (RWIS) devices are installed at critical areas throughout the state where atmospheric and pavement data could be used for maintenance and transportation management. An assessment of their use and research of their effectiveness is needed to improve the use of existing devices and research the communications systems that prohibit open data transfer between the devices..

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RoadView™ Needs Assessment and Cost/Benefit Analysis

Started June, 2000

The overall goals of attaching collision warning and lateral guidance systems to conventional snowplows (ASP) are to:

increase safety by;
reducing snowplow accidents,
reducing damage to other vehicles and infrastructure, and
reducing injuries to snowplow operators or other vehicle occupants,
improve operational efficiency and traveler mobility by;
increasing speed of snowplow removal tasks,
reducing erratic snowplow movements,
reducing road closures/travel delays,
reducing run-off-the-road incident and lane departures, and
demonstrate potential benefits of AVCS technologies by;
evaluating system performance,
assessing operator’s acceptance of the system,
assessing system’s ease of operation,
assessing perceived benefits of the system, and
assessing operator’s level of confidence with the system.
. .

See Full Project »

78 Projects

20 News Posts

New Project: Developing a Severe Weather Index for Maryland DOT

Posted on March 12th, 2018

A challenge that many state DOTs face is the accurate assessment of winter maintenance operations. One tool that has been successfully used by DOTs is the severe weather index (SWI), which can assess the performance and related costs associated with winter maintenance operations.  It considers the relative severity of each weather event, and relative severity of weather for that season. View Full News Post »

WTI Deicer Research Presented by Laura Fay at National Ecosystem Institute

Posted on February 20th, 2018

Laura Fay presents deicer research at national event (photo courtesy of the Cary Institute) Last week, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies invited WTI Research Scientist Laura Fay to present an overview of her research on winter maintenance deicers at the Institute’s main facility in Millbrook, New York. Laura’s presentation, entitled “Best Management Practices, a National Perspective,” provided an overview of typical deicers, including how and when they are used. In addition, she highlighted easy to implement best management practices that help transportation agencies reduce the amount of deicers they apply to the road, which in turn reduces the impact of deicing practices to the surrounding environment. View Full News Post »

TR News Praises WTI Winter Maintenance Peer Exchanges

Posted on December 26th, 2017

TR News magazine, published by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, recently dedicated an entire issue to successful efforts to move research into practice.  In the article “Going, Seeing, Showing, and Doing: Low-Tech Technology Transfer Works,” the authors highlighted WTI’s efforts to spearhead the National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange from 2007 – 2015.  Specifically, they note that attendees have “overwhelmingly cited the sharing of best practices and innovations as the most helpful part of the event. View Full News Post »

12th TRB International Conference on Low-Volume Roads

Posted on November 20th, 2017

TRB is sponsoring the 12th TRB International Conference on Low Volume Roads on September 15-18, 2019 in Kalispell, Montana. This conference examines new technologies and new techniques in the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and administration of low-volume roads. Panelists will explore case studies and practical solutions. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event

Deicer Research Highlighted by TRB

Posted on October 30th, 2017

The most recent issue of the national Transportation Research Board Newsletter has featured an article on a WTI research report sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.  “Field Usage of Alternative Deicers for Snow and Ice Control” summarizes non-chloride based deicers available on the market, including acetate, formate, glycol, and succinate based deicing products. The report explores the deicers’ feasibility for use as alternatives to chloride based deicers, and identifies next steps to determine if a non-chloride based deicer is a viable option for implementation in winter maintenance operations by MnDOT and local snow and ice removal providers. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News, Research

Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies.

Posted on August 27th, 2017

Researchers from WTI’s Winter Maintenance program have published “Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies.” This case study investigated the corrosive effects of chemicals used for snow and ice control operations, to better understand the potential impact on transportation infrastructure and motor vehicles. Citation: Shi, X. View Full News Post »

Cold Climate Researchers and Students Exchange Ideas at Summer Workshop

Posted on August 21st, 2017

The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states On August 10-11, 2017, the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) hosted its annual summer workshop at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman.  CESTiCC is a USDOT University Transportation Center, led by a consortium that includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Montana State University (WTI) and WSU.  The annual forum provides an opportunity for the Center to showcase its projects, and for researchers to exchange ideas on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues, which spurs collaboration and new directions for upcoming research. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event, Presentation

CESTICC Hosts Summer Workshop: Environmentally Sustainable Transportation

Posted on June 12th, 2017

CESTICC Hosts Summer Workshop: The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) will hold its annual Summer Workshop on Thursday, August 10 in Pullman, Washington at Washington State University. The workshop will provide an opportunity for exchange on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues and research. If you would like to submit an abstract for presentation or a poster title, please follow the instructions on the event’s flyer. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event, Tech Transfer

CESTICC Announces Summer Workshop

Posted on May 1st, 2017

The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) will hold its annual Summer Workshop on Thursday, August 10 in Pullman, Washington at Washington State University. The workshop will provide an opportunity for exchange on each of CESTiCC’s research thrusts and will feature a student poster competition and lectern sessions on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues and research. If you would like to submit an abstract for presentation or a poster title, please follow the instructions on the event’s flyer. View Full News Post »

Stateline Highlights Unpaved Roads Research

Posted on January 23rd, 2017

Stateline, a national website covering trends in state policy, published a feature story on a recent WTI project on the pros, cons, and costs of converting low-volume paved roads to unpaved roads. In “Dirt Roads Help Some Cities, Counties Drive Down Costs,” Stateline interviewed Principal Investigator Laura Fay about her research for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, which sought to explore how commonly and under what conditions transportation agencies are converting paved roads to unpaved roads. Through a national survey, the project identified 48 agencies that have completed conversions, 70 conversion projects, and 550 miles of converted roadway. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

WTI hosts Summer Workshop for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates

Posted on September 29th, 2016

The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) held its annual summer Workshop in Bozeman on August 12. Participants and presenters represented multiple organizations including University of Alaska – Fairbanks, Washington State University, University of Wisconsin – Platteville, University of Texas-San Antonio, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Michigan Tech, KC Harvey Environmental, and Montana DEQ. The workshop hosted presentations, updates, and a poster session on CESTiCC projects, followed by tours of the MSU campus and WTI labs. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event, Outreach

Winter Maintenance Work featured on Roads and Bridges Website

Posted on September 7th, 2016

The August 29 issue of Roads and Bridges included an article written by WTI’s Anburaj Muthumani and Laura Fay on assessing the use of snowplow lighting for optimal safety. “Can you see me now?” highlights the work done by the research team for the Clear Roads Best Practices Guide for snowplow lighting. Led by WTI, the team has compiled these findings into a best practices guide for winter maintenance agencies. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News, Research

Utah DOT Research Newsletter highlights WTI work

Posted on October 7th, 2015

The Summer 2015 issue of the Utah DOT Research Newsletter highlights the valuable research made possible by Clear Roads, the Pooled Fund Project led by the Minnesota DOT. Several important and practical Clear Roads research projects are featured, including WTI’s Corrosion Manual and the Environmental Best Practices Manual. http://www. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach, Research

Invited to Alaska for the International Symposium on Systematic Approaches to Environmental Sustainability in Transportation

Posted on August 10th, 2015

WTI was well represented at the International Symposium on Systematic Approaches to Environmental Sustainability in Transportation last week, which was held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The symposium showcased recent development, practices, and advances to maximize environmental sustainability, and also provided a forum for professionals to discuss environmental challenges associated with design, construction, and maintenance of multimodal transportation systems under extreme conditions or in rural environments.  Laura Fay, Rebecca Gleason, Na Cui, Ning Xie, and Anbu Muthumani were all invited to lead technical workshops or present their research throughout the four-day program. View Full News Post »

Clear Roads Pooled Fund publishes Best Practices Manual

Posted on August 3rd, 2015

The Clear Roads Pooled Fund has published a best practices manual for winter maintenance agencies to help them prevent corrosion in their vehicles and equipment.  The manual is the final deliverable for the project “Best Practices for the Prevention of Corrosion to DOT Equipment: A User’s Manual,” which was led by WTI, with the guide authored by researchers including Xianming Shi, Mehdi Nazari, and Laura Fay. In the research brief on the Clear Roads website, project champion Justin Droste of the Michigan Department of Transportation states that “this manual provides easy-to-follow recommendations that will reduce or prevent corrosion on DOT equipment. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Publication

A View from the Window – the Locomotive Windshield

Posted on April 29th, 2011

While defogging and chipping ice off of automobile windshields can be slow, tedious work, motorists typically have the tools and the ability to pull over to complete the task. For operators of locomotives pulling freight cars, the task is a bit more daunting. Locomotives are designed to operate in very harsh weather conditions in order to minimize delays associated with inclement weather. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

Winter Maintenance and Effects Update

Posted on April 29th, 2011

(Article from April 2011 eNews) As regions across the United States braced for snow storm after snow storm this winter, transportation in areas typically unaccustomed and unprepared for these types of conditions came to a grinding halt, paralyzing some cities for days at a time. While most of these scenarios reflect emergency situations where large snow accumulation occurred in a short amount of time, they invite awareness as to how well transportation systems operate in regions that ARE accustomed to inclement weather and hazardous driving conditions on a regular basis during the winter season. In the northern United States and Canada, snow and ice control operations are essential to ensure the safety, mobility and productivity of winter highways. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

Winter Maintenance and Effects – It’s not just about moving snow…

Posted on April 28th, 2011

(Introduction from April 2011 eNews) The calendar tells us it is spring, but for those of us in the northern regions of the country, it may be wishful thinking and a bit premature to remove the snow tires on our vehicles just yet. As we reflect on this winter, we remember hazardous Thanksgiving driving, Christmas snowstorms that buried New York City, and an ice storm blanketed by a snow storm in Dallas, Texas just days before the much hyped Super Bowl XLV. North, south, east, west, every region of the country experienced some form of atypical winter weather condition that ultimately caused traveling hiccups. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News

CSIL & WTI staff host a field site visit at Transcend

Posted on November 4th, 2009

Researchers from the Corrosion and Sustainable Infrastructure Laboratory (CSIL), WTI, hosted a field site visit at Transcend, in conjunction with a project meeting, for the Pacific Northwest Snowfighters Association (PNS) members. There is currently a project underway that is being conducted by WTI researchers for the PNS members which focuses on the longevity of stored deicers, including winter field testing at Transcend. Members of this pooled fund effort toured the research facility; including the deicer storage facilities, the snow making system, and the field site where winter testing is scheduled to begin in early 2010. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach, Staff

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