TRP Chair Spotlight: Charles Wienrank

Charles (Chuck) Wienrank is the Pavement Design Engineer in IDOT’s Bureau of Research. In that capacity, he provides assistance on new pavement designs and on innovative rehabilitation techniques for existing pavements. He previously served as the Pavement Management and Analysis Engineer and as Research Engineer in IDOT’s Bureau of Materials and Physical Research.

He serves as Technical Review Panel (TRP) chair for three current ICT/IDOT projects pertaining to various concepts and strategies in flexible and rigid pavement design, rehabilitation, and preservation:

  • Mechanistic-Empirical Design, Implementation, and Monitoring for Flexible Pavements (R27-149-1). In this project, ICT provides continuing technical research support to IDOT in adjusting, implementing, and monitoring activities associated with the department’s flexible pavement design methods. The project received the High-Impact Research Award at the 2016 Illinois Transportation and Highway Engineering Conference.
  • Mechanistic-Empirical Design, Implementation, and Monitoring for Rigid Pavements (R27-149-2). Similar to the project on flexible pavement, ICT’s objective in this study is to provide research and technical services to IDOT on rigid pavement design, analysis, construction, and material issues. Results of this research effort were recently presented at the Transportation Research Board’s 96th annual meeting.
  • Pavement Rehabilitation Strategy Course Development (R27-170). The objective of this project is to develop training materials for a classroom-style and online courses to explain pavement rehabilitation and preservation strategies of IDOT’s Bureau of Design and Environment Manual. The training materials target Planning, Design, Materials, and Operations staff in IDOT districts and central offices.

Wienrank says that IDOT was one of the first agencies in the United States to incorporate mechanistic-empirical concepts in their flexible and rigid pavement design procedures, starting with research conducted in the 1980s at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Our strong relationship with the U of I throughout the years has ensured that IDOT uses the best demonstrated available technology in the design and construction of flexible and rigid pavements. As our infrastructure ages, rehabilitation of existing pavements with limited funds is perhaps our greatest challenge. The pavement rehabilitation strategy course is intended to provide guidance to IDOT engineers in selecting economical and sustainable treatments to preserve and rehabilitate pavements,” he says.

Wienrank earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His coursework focused on many aspects of transportation engineering, including pavement design, traffic, geometric design, infrastructure management, pavement rehabilitation, asphalt mix design, materials, and construction.

Prior to joining IDOT in 2000, Wienrank worked for six years in the private sector, where he specialized in pavement research and pavement management.