Infrastructure Longevity and Sustainability

With progressive research and innovative thinking, the Infrastructure Longevity and Sustainability program improves the design and maintenance of rural highway infrastructure. Rural transportation agencies need new solutions to increase infrastructure longevity and to ensure that new designs are adequate to meet increasing demands.

The Infrastructure Longevity and Sustainability program area at WTI pursues research to improve the design, construction, and maintenance of rural highway infrastructure, with a focus on physical longevity and environmental sustainability.

Our unique expertise centers on addressing challenges faced by transportation agencies responsible for operating road networks in a rural environment:

  • Designing and maintaining low-volume roads, including paving options, dust control, and condition monitoring
  • Identifying cost-effective and durable structural materials, including newer alternatives such as recycled and geosynthetic options
  • Managing roadside environments that affect structural integrity, including slope stability, erosion control, and vegetation management.

The Challenge

In recent reports, the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure has received poor ratings due to increasing demands and limited resources for maintenance and expansion. The issue is often magnified in rural areas, where limited routes and budgets require tough decisions to be made on road and bridge maintenance and surfacing. To address this challenge, we utilize the knowledge of the past and innovative solutions to find solutions to maintenance, preservation, and new construction needs.

What We Do

With our in-house research staff and affiliated faculty, our program features a diverse combination of expertise in civil, mechanical, and industrial engineering, materials science and engineering, environmental science, road ecology, data analysis and modeling, and related field. We offer inter-disciplinary teams that serve complex user needs.

Our end goal is to provide tools and resources that facilitate the daily operations, management and planning responsibilities of transportation practitioners.  Examples of recent projects include:

  • Developing an App to document, rate, and track unstable slope conditions in public lands
  • As the state of the practice of on unpaving and development of guide for unpaving
  • Formulating a non-proprietary, affordable version of ultra-high performance concrete using locally-sourced materials for the Montana Department of Transportation.
  • Identifying best practices that facilitate identification, inspection and maintenance of culverts and other underground drainage infrastructure assets, including recommendations for implementation of a Culvert Asset Management System (CAMS).

Our Research Partners

As a pioneer in the field of rural transportation solutions, WTI has been at the forefront of developing specialized research partnerships to meet rural infrastructure needs.

  • WTI spearheaded the creation of the Road Dust Institute, which expanded into the Unpaved Roads Institute, in partnership with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
  • WTI plays a leadership role in the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Low Volume Roads and was recently selected to host the TRB International Conference on Low Volume Roads in Montana in 2019.

We also work closely with many other prominent research partners, including:

  • National Center for Rural Road Safety
  • Center for Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
  • USDOT, National Cooperative Highway Research Programs
  • World Bank
  • National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board
  • American Public Works Association
  • International Erosion Control Association
  • Montana Local Transportation Assistance Program (LTAP)

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…

12 Projects

Feasibility of Non-Proprietary Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) for use in Highway Bridges in Montana: Phase II Field Application

Started March, 2018

The objective of this project is to further characterize the non-proprietary UHPC mixes developed in the Phase I research, and ensure its successful application in field-cast joints. This objective will be achieved by (1) investigating the potential variability in concrete performance related to differences in constituent materials, (2) investigating issues related to the field batching/mixing of the these UHPC mixes, and (3) testing rebar bond strength and studying how this will affect requisite development lengths..

See Full Project »

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.. .

See Full Project »

Mitigation of Expansive Soils in South Dakota

Started April, 2015

The objective of this project is to update the South Dakota Department of Transportation specifications and construction guidelines related to designing and constructing roads in areas containing subgrade soils with high potential for expansion and/or shrinkage.. .

See Full Project »

Evaluation of Reinforcement Strain Growth During Traffic Loading – UTC

Started May, 2004

The objective of this project is to establish the feasibility of using geosynthetic strain measurements from reinforced pavement test sections to establish relationships between a permanent to resilient strain ratio and a normalized traffic pass level. This information is needed as input to a design method for reinforced pavements previously established in a project for FHWA..

See Full Project »

12 Projects

Show Only Projects Pertaining To…

80 Projects

Culvert Asset Management System Best Practices/Pilot Project

Started March, 2016

The final report identified best practices for culvert asset management systems in state departments of transportation (DOTs).  Researchers conducted an extensive literature review and surveyed state DOTs, with 47 states responding.  In the survey, 33 states reported that they inspect small culverts.  Nineteen states reported that they had culvert inspection manuals. The survey also found that culvert inspections are carried out by DOT maintenance staff, student or summer interns/workers, bridge inspectors, or central staff. Twenty-one state DOTs reported that they provided culvert inspection training, either developed in-house (15 states) or based on bridge inspection (6 states).  Researchers also identified the most common data fields collected in culvert inspection and inventory databases, as well as the most common technologies (e.g., Trimble, iPad, paper, or a combination) used for field collection of data.  Photos are incorporated into the inventory data system in 21 states.  Inventory software included state-developed systems, Agile Assets, and AASHTOWare.

See Full Project »

Feasibility of Non-Proprietary Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) for use in Highway Bridges in Montana

Started April, 2015

As described in greater detail in the final report, the investigation yielded several conclusions including: suitable materials for use in ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) can be easily obtained in the state of Montana; the initial 4-variable central composite design (CCD) proved to be an efficient tool for characterizing the effect of the various concrete constituents on the performance of UHPC; the follow-on 3-variable CCD also proved to be a very useful tool for characterizing the effects of the various concrete constituents on the performance of UHPC, and also proved useful for optimization; batch size and mixing method were observed to have a significant effect on resultant plastic and hardened concrete properties; the mechanical and durability tests performed on the selected UHPC mix demonstrated the exceptional mechanical properties and durability of this material; and overall this research demonstrated that self-consolidating, non-proprietary UHPC mixes can be made economically (less than $1,000/yd3) with materials readily available in the state of Montana.
. .

See Full Project »

Development of a 3/4-inch Minus Base Course Type A Specification for Montana

Started December, 2014

The final report summarizes the work to develop a new specification, which included conducting a review of current ¾-inch minus specifications from around the U.S., using that
information to generate a preliminary specification to create ¾-inch minus mixes, testing the material properties of these mixes, and modifying these mixes to determine the effect changes in the gradation primarily had on its strength, stiffness and permeability. Based on the results of multiple statistical evaluations as well as qualitative
comparisons, it was concluded that a ¾-inch minus gradation specification will perform at least as well as Montana’s existing CBC-6A materials and better than CBC-5A materials. Gradation limits for a new ¾-inch minus, Grade 7A, crushed base course were suggested; however, the practicality of producing mixes that fit within the suggested gradation limits still needs to be determined.

See Full Project »

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.

See Full Project »

Investigation of Prefabricated Steel-Truss Bridge Deck Systems

Started September, 2014

As described in the final report, this research evaluated both a conventional cast in place deck system and an accelerated bridge deck system (cast integral with the truss) for the bolted/welded steel truss bridge. A 3D finite element model was used to more accurately calculate the distribution of lane and truck loads to the individual trusses. Truss
members and connections for both construction alternatives were designed using loads from AASHTO Strength I, Fatigue I, and Service II load combinations

See Full Project »

Evaluation of Plus Grades of Performance Grade (PC) Asphalt Binder

Started January, 2014

This research documented current knowledge and practice related to evaluation of plus grades of performance graded (PG) asphalt binder, with a focus on the scenarios of interest to NMDOT. The synthesis in the final report mainly includes a discussion of the following issues: history of polymer modified binders (PMBs) for asphalt pavement, selection of polymer for asphalt modification, evaluation of PMB properties, binder specifications for PMBs, cost analysis, recommendations, and future work. Recent years have seen the introduction of PG Plus Binders, the success of which hinges on the use of elastomer and/or rubber for binder modification

See Full Project »

Feasibility of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement as Aggregate in Portland Cement Concrete Pavements, Phase II

Started September, 2012

The final report describes the results of the field demonstration project and the mixture optimization investigation. As part of the field demonstration project, two RAP-concrete slabs were cast on a roadway near Lewistown, MT, and monitored for damage, shrinkage, and curling over a two-year period. There were no logistical issues associated with the construction of the slabs, and no damage and only minor shrinkage/curling was observed

See Full Project »

Deep Patch Repair, Phase 2

Started September, 2012

The objective of this research is to validate the deep patch road repair design technique developed in Phase I by constructing a small-scale field test section and/or performing several scaled model laboratory tests.. .

See Full Project »

Evaluating Fire Damaged Components of Historic Covered Bridges, Post-Fire Assessment Guidelines and Techniques

Started August, 2012

The objectives of this research were to survey existing approaches to post-fire evaluations based on their relevance to historic covered timber bridges; customize a non-destructive technique for determining the residual capacity of individual, fire-damaged, glued laminated beams; and produce a “how-to” guide comprised of guidelines and techniques for conducting post-fire evaluations.. .

See Full Project »

Relative Operational Performance of Geosynthetics Used as Subgrade Stabilization

Started December, 2011

As described in the final report, full-scale test sections were constructed, trafficked and monitored to compare the relative operational performance of geosynthetics used as subgrade stabilization as well as determine which material properties are most related to performance. Seventeen, 50-ft. long test sections were constructed – fourteen containing geosynthetic reinforcement and three without

See Full Project »

Geosynthetic Design and Specification Review and Update

Started June, 2011

As described in the final report, Alaska geosynthetic specifications were thoroughly reviewed, and modifications to their existing specifications were suggested based on information from multiple sources accumulated from decades of research and experience from manufacturers, designers, researchers and practitioners. Changes were suggested to update the specification to:
1) improve clarity and flow, make formatting and layout consistent with other Alaska specifications, and maintain active voice,
2) update content to make it more consistent with standard practice, design, recent developments in materials and design, and existing state and federal specifications, and
3) make it consistent with the unique Alaska conditions or standard practices..

See Full Project »

Testing and Evaluation of Recovered Traction Sanding Material

Started April, 2011

As described in the final report, an analysis of reuse and recycle options for salvaged traction sand was conducted using results of mechanical and chemical tests
conducted on samples collected along the Bozeman Pass and the Lookout Pass areas. The results indicate there are viable alternatives to landfilling or roadside dumping of collected traction sand. The most appealing and cost-effective option is to reuse the collected material as traction sand in subsequent winters

See Full Project »

Evaluation of a New Arch Bridge Technology for Short Spans

Started March, 2011

The objective of this research is to conduct a review of the Bridge-in-a-Backpack system – a new construction technology for a corrosion-resistant arch bridge – and other traditional crossing systems that may be used in Montana, to determine where they can be applied with maximum efficacy.. .

See Full Project »

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 »

Cost-Effective and Sustainable Road Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control

Started December, 2010

The final synthesis presents information on cost-effective and sustainable road slope stabilization techniques, with a focus on shallow or near-surface slope stabilization and related erosion control methods used on low-volume roads. To fully address this topic planning and site investigation are discussed as well as erosion control techniques, soil bioengineering and biotechnical techniques, mechanical stabilization and earthwork techniques..

See Full Project »

Evaluation of Deep Patch Landslide Mitigation Design Methodology

Started September, 2010

As described in the final report, the research team evaluated the deep patch slope repair methodology by analytical methods and field observations for the purpose of developing a simple design method suitable for use by Federal Lands Highway and Forest Service personnel. Literature was reviewed, current design methodologies were documented and site visits were conducted to better understand how the deep patch methodology has been used in the past, to evaluate the performance of in-service deep patch sites and to help authenticate the newly proposed design method. An analytical study was conducted to model the effects of various slope configurations, failure mechanisms, deep
patch design geometries, and type of geosynthetics using 2D and 3D computer modeling software

See Full Project »

Feasilbity of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement as Aggregate in Portland Cement Concrete Pavements – UTC

Started January, 2010

As described in the final report, this research demonstrated that concretes with up to 50 percent of the fine aggregates and 100 percent of the coarse aggregates replaced with RAP were suitable for concrete pavement. A statistical experimental design procedure (response surface methodology – RSM) was used to investigate proportioning RAP concrete mixtures to achieve desired performance criteria. Based on the results of the RSM investigation, two concrete mixtures were selected for further evaluation: a high RAP mix with fine and coarse aggregate replacement rates of 50 and 100 percent respectively, and a “high” strength mix with one half of the RAP used in the high RAP mix

See Full Project »

Feasilbity of Reclaimed Ashphalt Pavement as Aggregate in Portland Cement Concrete Pavements

Started January, 2010

As described in the final report, this research demonstrated that concretes with up to 50 percent of the fine aggregates and 100 percent of the coarse aggregates replaced with RAP were suitable for concrete pavement. A statistical experimental design procedure (response surface methodology – RSM) was used to investigate proportioning RAP concrete mixtures to achieve desired performance criteria. Based on the results of the RSM investigation, two concrete mixtures were selected for further evaluation: a high RAP mix with fine and coarse aggregate replacement rates of 50 and 100 percent respectively, and a “high” strength mix with one half of the RAP used in the high RAP mix

See Full Project »

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..

See Full Project »

Validation of Rehab Strategies to Extent the Service Life of Concrete Bridge Decks – UTC

Started August, 2008

The objective of this research is to investigate the long-term effectiveness of Caltrans’ preservation and rehabilitation strategies for concrete bridge decks. Caltrans currently employs high molecular weight methacrylate (HMWM)-based crack sealing and polyester overlay. This research will also explore the value of Portland cement concrete (PCC) and asphalt concrete (AC) overlays on bridge decks, and identify the appropriate treatment time and frequency for these strategies.

See Full Project »

Validation of Rehab Strategies of Extend the Service Life of Concrete Bridge Decks

Started July, 2008

The objective of this research is to investigate the long-term effectiveness of Caltrans’ preservation and rehabilitation strategies for concrete bridge decks. Caltrans currently employs high molecular weight methacrylate (HMWM)-based crack sealing and polyester overlay. This research will also explore the value of Portland cement concrete (PCC) and asphalt concrete (AC) overlays on bridge decks, and identify the appropriate treatment time and frequency for these strategies.

See Full Project »

The Nature Aggregate-Asphalt Bond: A Lab Study

Started February, 2008

This research is directed at developing a laboratory-based test method to investigate the nature of the aggregate–asphalt bond using different analyticochemistry analysis approaches. The project proposes to identify the mechanisms that contribute to adhesive failure of asphalt mixes, to understand the contribution of material properties (asphalt and aggregate structure) to the adhesive failure of mixes, to understand the contribution of mixture properties, and to develop a test to evaluate the adhesive failure of mixes..

See Full Project »

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.

See Full Project »

Cold-Region & Rural Transportation Research, Maintenance & Operations Test-Bed: Project Development Task

Started December, 2005

The purpose of this project is to conduct initial development tasks that will create a prioritized, funded research program for the facility, and establish Montana as a national and international leader in cold region rural transportation research. This project provides federal match funding for the development of the Lewistown Airport Cold Region Rural Transportation Research Facility (eventually called TRANSCEND)..

See Full Project »

Life-Cycle Costing of Thermo-Plastic Pavement Markings

Started April, 2002

To determine whether it is cost-effective to use TP pavement markings in urban areas within the state of Montana. Specifically, this investigation will provide:· detailed descriptions of TP and other alternative pavement marking materials· cost/benefit analyses for each pavement marking alternativeThis information will indicate to both MDT and Montana contractors whether or not the use of TP in Montana urban areas is cost-effective..

See Full Project »

Field Evaluation of the Performance of Three Concrete Bridge Decks on Montana Route 243 – UTC

Started February, 2002

The objective of this project is to investigate the performance of three different types of concrete bridge decks, namely: a conventionally reinforced deck made with standard concrete, designed and constructed following standard practices of MDT’s Bridge Bureau; a deck with reduced reinforcement made with normal concrete, designed following the empirical design approach presented in the AASHTO LRFD Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges and constructed following standard MDT practice; and a conventionally reinforced deck made with high performance concrete (HPC) developed following FHWA guidelines.. .

See Full Project »

Geosynthetic Pullout Behavior under Small Displacements

Started July, 2001

To investigate the pullout behavior of several geosynthetic materials embedded in soils to provide interaction properties for a finite element model. The finite element modeling, which is not part of this project, is based on a large-scale simulation of a geosynthetic reinforced pavement structure..

See Full Project »

Crack Sealing Cost Effectiveness Project

Started October, 1995

The objective of this research study is to determine the most economical and effective materials and methods for sealing cracks in flexible pavements in the state of Montana. This investigation involves the placement of experimental test sections as part of larger crack sealing projects, followed by visual monitoring. Several sealant materials and several sealing techniques have been included in this investigation.

See Full Project »

80 Projects

39 News Posts

New Project Investigates Alkali-Silica Reactivity in Montana Concrete Structures

Posted on May 1st, 2018

Concrete can be susceptible to expansive reactions between alkalis in the Portland cement and reactive forms of silica in the aggregates, which can ultimately reduce the lifespan of the concrete used in pavements and other structures.  When this occurs, it can result in costly repairs or even replacement of infrastructure.  While alkali-silica reactivity (ASR) has been documented as an issue in many states, little work has been conducted to determine the presence/potential of ASR in Montana. View Full News Post »

New Project: Testing Ultra-High Performance Concrete in the Field

Posted on April 9th, 2018

Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) has mechanical and durability properties that far exceed those of conventional concrete. However, using UHPC in conventional concrete applications has been cost prohibitive, with commercially available/proprietary mixes costing approximately 30 times more than conventional concrete. Previous WTI research resulted in nonproprietary UHPC mixes made with materials readily available in Montana. View Full News Post »

New Project: Evaluating the Performance of Geosynthetic Materials for Montana DOT

Posted on March 12th, 2018

Geosynthetic materials are routinely used in transportation applications to facilitate construction, improve stability, and enhance longevity. Departments of transportation have generally had good experience with these products, although a robust and non-proprietary design process for geosynthetic reinforced paved roads is still lacking. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) believes that geosynthetics can be used responsibly to provide cost-savings on a number of upcoming highway construction projects in the state, based on their in-house experience as well as previous research and evaluation by WTI. View Full News Post »

MDT Research Newsletter Profiles Three WTI Projects

Posted on February 5th, 2018

WTI research is prominently featured in the new issue of Solutions, the research newsletter of the Montana Department of Transportation.  Three recently completed projects are profiled in feature articles: “Prefabricated Steel Truss/Bridge Deck Systems.” This study was a WTI and MSU Civil Engineering project led by Damon Fick, Tyler Kuehl, Michael Berry, and Jerry Stephens. View Full News Post »

To Pave or Not to Pave?

Posted on January 29th, 2018

WTI Research Scientist Laura Fay was interviewed last week by MINNPOST.com on the topic of local road agencies that choose to unpave roads.  The discussion focused on Laura’s research sponsored by the Transportation Research Board, in which she surveyed local, state, or federal agencies on how they manage low-volume roads. View Full News Post »

Two New Research Reports Released: Wool Reclamation Products and High Performance Concrete

Posted on December 19th, 2017

The Montana Department of Transportation has released the final reports for two projects by WTI researchers: “Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products.” This research project developed three types of products for study: woolen erosion control blankets (ECBs), wool incorporated into wood fiber compost, and wool incorporated into silt fence. The project, supported by Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, compared the wool products’ performance to roadside reclamation products commonly used for revegetating cut slopes. View Full News Post »

New Report on Prefabricated Bridge Decks

Posted on December 11th, 2017

The Montana Department of Transportation has released the final report for “Investigation of Prefabricated Steel Truss/Bridge Deck Systems,” a WTI and MSU Civil Engineering project led by Damon Fick, Tyler Kuehl, Michael Berry, and Jerry Stephens. The study evaluated a prototype of a welded steel truss constructed with an integral concrete deck, which has been proposed as a potential alternative for accelerated bridge construction (ABC) projects in Montana.  Steel truss bridges are relatively light weight compared with plate girder systems, which makes them a desirable alternative for both material savings and constructability. View Full News Post »

Dates Announced for International Conference on Low Volume Roads

Posted on December 11th, 2017

WTI will host the 12th Transportation Research Board (TRB) International Conference on Low Volume Roads on September 15-18, 2019 in Kalispell, Montana. Sponsored by TRB, 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 to common problems related to all aspects of low-volume roads. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event, low volume roads

New York Times Gives Shout Out to WTI’s Unpaved Roads Report

Posted on April 6th, 2017

Start spreading the news… Recently, the New York Times published a feature article titled “Omaha’s Answer to Potholes? Go Back to Gravel Roads,”describing cities that are choosing to maintain low usage streets in disrepair by converting them back to gravel roads as a lower-cost alternative to repaving. The article cites the NCHRP study on unpaved roads authored by WTI Program Manager Laura Fay, which documented similar conversions in 27 states across the country, as well as best practices for this type of road project.. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

WTI Selected to Host International Conference

Posted on March 7th, 2017

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Low Volume Roads Committee has selected the Western Transportation Institute to host the 12th TRB International Conference on Low Volume Roads in Montana. WTI proposed the Flathead Valley of northwest Montana (Kalispell/Whitefish) as the venue for the Spring/Summer 2019 meeting, which will bring 150-300 participants and presenters to the area. The Flathead Valley provides an ideal location for conducting field tours of local low volume roads within a 30 minute drive, not to mention the proximity of Glacier National Park. View Full News Post »

MDT Highlights WTI Research Projects

Posted on February 22nd, 2017

The Montana Department of Transportation selected multiple MDT/WTI collaborative research projects to highlight in its Winter 2017 Research Newsletter.  Eli Cuelho’s project to develop a standard specification for a new gravel base course design was featured on the front page (“Development of a ¾-inch Minus Base Course Type A Specification for Montana”).  The newsletter also provides an update on the Traffic Safety Culture Transportation Pooled Fund, which is a joint effort by the Center for Health and Safety Culture, WTI, MDT and nine other states. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News, Research

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

MSU Students take Presentation Awards at I-HEEP Conference

Posted on September 27th, 2016

The Highway Engineering Exchange Program (HEEP) is an international organization that promotes advances in transportation engineering through the exchange of knowledge and information technology. The 2016 International HEEP Conference was held September 11-15 in Helena, Montana. HEEP offers a student competition with cash prizes as part of its Educator Student Participation Program (ESP). View Full News Post »

Welcome to the Unpaved Roads Institute

Posted on September 15th, 2016

The Road Dust Institute (RDI) has changed its name to the Unpaved Roads Institute (URi) to better reflect the increased interest general unpaved road management issues. We would like to welcome you to our new website.  First conceptualized in 2008, we are continually evolving with input and support from our founding partners and the Federal Lands Highway of FHWA. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach, Tech Transfer

AASHTO selects Asphalt Pavement Project for National Recognition

Posted on July 21st, 2016

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has selected a WTI project as one of its national “Sweet Sixteen” High Value Research Projects. WTI researchers Ning Xie, Natalie Villwock-Witte, and Laura Fay led a project for the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) entitled “Optimization of Elastic Polymer Modification Rates Based on Contemporary Relative Costs vs. Benefits,” which looked at the costs and benefits of the use of polymer modified binders for asphalt pavements. View Full News Post »

Geosynthetics testing

Posted on August 26th, 2015

Eli Cuelho’s work in Geosynthetics in Subgrade Stabilization project, Geosythetica.net announces TenCate Mirafi® RS580i outperformed all geosynthetics tested by WTI. TenCate Geosynthetics develops and produces synthetic fabrics, non-wovens, wovens and geogrids, and creates design solutions and systems for infrastructure and civil technology. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

2nd Road Dust Best Management Practices Conference—Save the Date!

Posted on April 28th, 2011

Article from WTI eNews April 2011 Las Vegas, Nevada – November 7-9, 2011 The 2011 Road Dust Best Management Practices Conference will bring together local, state and county road practitioners, as well as researchers and federal agencies to discuss current practices, identify best practices and share lessons learned, to enhance the management of dust on unpaved roads. The themes of the 2011 Road Dust Best Management Practices Conference will be Environmental Compatibility and Sustainability, General and International Best Practices, and Unique and Extreme Conditions. The conference will feature national and international experts presenting current best management practices and will use presentations and poster sessions, roundtable dialogue and training sessions to accomplish this. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event

Colter Roskos presents at National Science Foundation conference

Posted on April 28th, 2011

Civil Engineering graduate research assistant Colter Roskos presented a poster at the National Science Foundation’s Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division Grantees Conference, which was held January 3-7, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Colter’s paper on “Building Green: Development and Evaluation of the Design Properties of an Environmentally Friendly Concrete” will also be published in the conference proceedings.. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Presentation, Student

Transcend Facility Update: Snow guns

Posted on April 5th, 2010

Does your project need an open road? Located in Central Montana at the former Lewistown airport, Transcend’s research facility offers four miles of real-world paved test surface, a highly innovative, multidisciplinary research staff, and a comprehensive communications, power, and data networking infrastructure allowing innovations to make the jump from the laboratory to the real world. In short, it is the only laboratory of its kind: diverse, isolated, and ready to test, develop, and research virtually any innovation that relies on the open road. And while the real world features extreme weather and conditions, the facility takes a step forward and features a few perks the real world doesn’t like instant wet weather, a highly innovative, multidisciplinary research team and the diagnostics to ensure every test is accurate and valuable. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

Researchers complete a man-made snow event.

Posted on March 20th, 2010

WTI researchers completed a man-made snow event for the Pacific Northwest Snowfighters Inhibitor Longevity and Deicer Performance Study. The goal of this event was to evaluate corrosion inhibitor longevity in anti-icers after roadway application following a significant snow event. Three inhibited chloride anti-icers were applied with a specially designed applicator trailer. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

WTI staff held a snowmaking event in February

Posted on March 20th, 2010

Snowmaking: WTI staff held a snowmaking event in February to check and tune the snowmaking equipment. Based on data from this event, the fan guns will be updated with new weather stations and nozzle upgrades to make snow more consistently and efficiently at temperatures slightly below freezing. Snowmaking equipment upgrades will be completed by next winter. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

WTI personnel completed the third Field Operational Test.

Posted on March 10th, 2010

WTI personnel completed the third Field Operational Test for the Caltrans Establishing Best Practices of Snow and Ice Removal research project. Similar to previous tests for this project, chemicals were applied late in the afternoon with air and pavement temperatures above freezing. Once the pavement temperature fell below freezing, snow was applied and compacted overnight using the Transcend snowmaking system and a smooth drum compactor. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

Transcend Advisory Committee Meeting February 24, 2010

Posted on February 24th, 2010

The Transcend Advisory Committee met on February 24, 2010 via the web to review the history of the facility as well as projects underway and the current status of facility development. The Advisory Committee provides guidance on potential research opportunities as well as serving as a sounding board for research ideas and the usefulness of the research for practitioners.. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

WTI researchers initiate a “Black Ice” event for the Pacific Northwest Snowfighters

Posted on February 10th, 2010

WTI researchers initiated a “Black Ice” event for the Pacific Northwest Snowfighters. The goal of this event is to evaluate the duration corrosion inhibitors last when applied to pavement in anticipation of frost or black ice. Applications of three inhibited chloride chemicals were sampled immediately after application and will continue to be sampled for the next seven days in order to quantify the presence of the corrosion inhibitors. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

First Field Test for Snow and Ice Removal

Posted on January 26th, 2010

WTI crews completed the first Field Operational Test for the Caltrans Establishing Best Practices of Snow and Ice Removal research project. Chemicals were applied late in the afternoon with cold air and pavement temperatures. Snow was applied and compacted overnight using the Transcend snowmaking system and a smooth drum compactor. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

TRANSCEND Lab Aquires Portable Lighting Equipment

Posted on December 4th, 2009

Transcend researchers acquired portable lighting equipment and additional snow removal equipment to facilitate snow making and winter research. The portable lighting equipment is used for nighttime snowmaking operations. Typically, it is easier to make snow during the night because the surface and air temperatures are more stable which creates a more consistent product. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

WTI will be initiating a Road Dust Institute

Posted on December 4th, 2009

December 2009 — The Western Transportation Institute will be initiating a Road Dust Institute. This initiative will foster partnerships and promote research, education, and technology transfer to ensure best management practices for dust control. The Road Dust Institute is a part of the Western Transportation Institute’s strategic direction, aiding growth of the Road Dust Management and Future Needs Conference and supporting dust related research, such as the National Scan of Best Practices for Chemical Treatments on Unpaved Roads. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach, Research

Animal Detection Systems Tested and Reviewed

Posted on November 10th, 2009

November 2009 — Researchers tested the reliability of the MagalSenstar animal detection system. The livestock contractor delivered 6 animals (2 horses, 2 llamas, and 2 sheep) to the test site and a test was initiated on November 18 2009. The tests lasted for 10 consecutive days after which the animals were removed from the enclosure. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

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

Animal Detection Systems Testbed Research News

Posted on August 4th, 2009

Researchers traveled to the Transcend facility to install another animal detection in the RADS testbed area. This system consists of a buried cable that detects large mammals when they move across the cable. The system is manufactured by Magal Senstar from Ontario, Canada. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research

WTI employees & invited guests from MSU travel to Transcend

Posted on July 9th, 2009

Western Transportation Institute employees and invited guests from MSU traveled to Transcend for a site visit. Attendees toured the facilities, discussed current and future research opportunities, potential partnerships, and benefits of conducting their research at Transcend. They also toured the newly completed shop and checked out the snowmaking system which is now fully operational. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach

39 News Posts