By Juan David Pava
Helping the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) develop innovative solutions to its needs and improve on current practice is the main focus of the research partnership between IDOT and the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT). Implementing the finalized research is one area in which IDOT has invested time to make sure the innovative solutions developed are used. Thanks to improvements in the tracking of implementation, IDOT now has the capability to present the implementation status of projects completed in fiscal year 2014 (FY14).
During FY14, IDOT and ICT had 72 active projects, 19 of which were completed. Those 19 projects spanned seven different areas of study: pavement design, management, and materials; structures, hydraulics, and geotechnical; environment; planning; traffic operations and roadside maintenance; safety engineering; and public and intermodal transportation. More than 75% of the projects completed have implementation potential, and more than 60% have implementation under way or completed.
The projects being implemented have helped IDOT provide a safer transportation system in a cost-effective way while taking into consideration the environment and the people of Illinois.
Various projects have affected the way IDOT operates. Four such projects are the following:
Effects of Various Asphalt Binder Additives/Modifiers on Moisture-Susceptible Asphaltic Mixes (R27-078)
This project provided support for IDOT’s decision restricting the use of polyphosphoric acid, confirming that styrene butadiene styrene does not prevent stripping, and that the use of hydrated lime or suitable liquid anti-strip additives improves resistance of moisture-sensitive mixtures to moisture damage, thereby increasing the durability of pavements. The Technical Review Panel (TRP) chair for this project, James Trepanier, HMA Operations Engineer for IDOT, says the research findings have helped validate IDOT’s practices and support continued use of current specifications.
Bridge Decks: Mitigation of Cracking and Increased Durability (R27-088)
In this project, ICT researchers investigated materials-based means to help mitigate premature cracking of concrete bridge decks, particularly with respect to early-age shrinkage. Two basic types of shrinkage abatement additives were studied in depth: shrinkage-reducing chemical admixtures and shrinkage-compensating expansive, finely divided minerals. In the process of this research, two experimental special provisions were written in order to evaluate the performance of the experimental mixes in the field. James Krstulovich, Concrete Research Engineer for IDOT and member of the project’s TRP, explains that advances in bridge deck durability could amount to significant savings for IDOT. A second-phase study (R27-139) is in progress to validate and expand on the findings from the first phase, including a look at internal curing of concrete using lightweight expanded shale aggregate.
Impact of HPMS Sample Counting for 24 Hours Versus 48 Hours (R27-SP22)
The objective of this special project was to evaluate the differences of average annual daily traffic computed from 24-hour and 48-hour traffic counts. It was demonstrated that, with the application of appropriate daily traffic count adjustment factors, the two count durations were statistically comparable. The project’s TRP chair, William Morgan, Data Management Chief in IDOT’s Office of Planning and Programming, states that this project allowed IDOT to secure a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) waiver on the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) sections to conduct 24-hour counts instead of the recommended 48 hours. This change will provide cost savings, integrate the counts into the IDOT counting program, and allow for additional counts to be conducted with the same resources by bringing the HPMS sections into alignment with the other 15,000 annual traffic counts conducted annually by IDOT.
Development of a Highway Incident Management Operational and Training Guide, Phase II (R27-118)
This project was the second phase of a study that developed a highway incident management operational guide. The project’s main objective was to create training materials to help responders reduce fatalities and injuries as well as prevent secondary crashes by working more safely and effectively. The training developed has been endorsed by FHWA as equivalent to their national program. Training is available through IDOT’s learning management system at http://www.ildottraining.org and in person by contacting IDOT at (217) 782-1345. The project’s TRP chair, Geno Koehler, Permit Unit Chief for IDOT, says that more than 1,800 people have been trained online and in person.
Thanks to the efforts by TRP members and ICT researchers, IDOT has been able to address many of its needs through research. Implementing the research findings and tracking implementation efforts help IDOT demonstrate the value of conducting research in support of its mission to provide safe, cost-effective transportation for Illinois in ways that enhance the quality of life, provide economic prosperity, and demonstrate respect for the environment.
For more information on how to get involved with implementation of research findings, contact Juan D. Pava, Acting Research Implementation Engineer, IDOT Bureau of Materials and Physical Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org.