Paving the way

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Feb. 4, 2016

Field work and analysis by civil and environmental engineering students, including Gopi Musunuru and Derek Hibner, collected the kind of pavement condition data that will help MSU with its road preservation practices.

Paving the way for better roads at MSU 

Faculty and students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) collaborated with the Michigan State University Infrastructure Planning and Facilities (IPF) to conduct a detailed pavement condition evaluation of campus roads and parking lots in 2015. 

Directed by CEE associate professor Syed W. Haider, students were trained to collect pavement condition data and did an analysis offering road preservation and maintenance recommendations using current budget levels.

“The goal of this collaborative is to use in-house faculty expertise in pavement design, rehabilitation, maintenance, and management of road and parking networks to enhance MSU infrastructure,” Haider said. 

It also provides unique opportunities for students to obtain professional and field experience in pavement engineering and road preservation practices, he noted. 

Work directed by Civil and Environmental Engineering associate professor Syed W. Haider demonstrates how partnerships between operations and academics benefit both.

The Pavement Management Unit (PMU) will assist the IPF managers, engineers, and other technical staff in maintaining a cost-effective road network on campus. In this collaboration, the PMU mission is to provide the following services to IPF: 

• coordinate and collect pavement condition data for road and parking lots on the campus,

• conduct material testing (Portland cement concrete, hot-mix asphalt, and soil samples) in CEE laboratories, if needed,

• enhance IPF’s existing pavement management database, which would include inventory, traffic load, and condition data for the MSU campus pavement network,

• create structural and functional evaluations of the existing pavements,

• analyze the pavement condition data and integrate pavement maintenance and repair strategy by optimizing the pavement network condition and minimizing the associated costs. The results of the data analyses can be used to analyze the optimal strategies for allocating available budgetary funds in the most cost effective way for road rehabilitation, maintenance and preservation needs.

• involve students in pavement related courses with assignments and projects tied with the operation of the campus PMU (teaching).

• use the pavement performance data from the network to evaluate new paving materials such as crumb rubber asphalt mixes, glass concrete and pervious asphalt materials.

Haider said the goals of pavement management system for the campus road network include providing an optimal level of service that maintains the campus road network in the best interest of the university.

“We will conduct research to advance the pavement maintenance and preservation practices and partner with state and local agencies to collaborate and foster our lessons learned,” he said.


National award for MSU civil and environmental engineering graduate students 

CEE graduate students Ronell Eisma and John Gondeck were the first place winners in the graduate category of the 15th International Data Analysis Contest. 

Ronell Eisma, and his co-author John Gondeck, were recognized in January for top research honors among graduate students at the 15th International Data Analysis Contest.They were recognized at the 2016 Transportation Research Board (TRB) 95th annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in January. 

Their paper, “Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Diamond Grinding Treatments due to Site Factors and Profile Characteristics,” will be published by The Federal Highway Administration and made available to researchers worldwide. The American Society of Civil Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration sponsored the competition.  

The students are advised by CEE associate professor Syed W. Haider and CEE professor Karim Chatti.John Gondeck, and co-author Ronell Eisma, took first place in the graduate category of the 15th International Data Analysis Contest. The authors were honored in January.

Paper Abstract

The comprehensive management of a pavement network involves regular monitoring and maintenance of its roadways. By tracking the current functional performance of roadways within a network, highway agencies can identify pavement sections that are in need of repair and allocate resources appropriately. Much of the reason for pavement deterioration is the repeated axle loading of heavy vehicles, which can be amplified by high road surface roughness. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of diamond grinding, a treatment designed to improve surface smoothness, by evaluating LTPP monitoring and construction data. The results of this analysis showed that grinding effectiveness can range from six to 10 years for an average of seven years. This range of life extension was dependent on the existing condition of a pavement and the ability of the grinding treatment to address the mechanisms causing existing distresses. The grinding treatments were generally more effective on long-term pavement performance sections with low traffic and good existing conditions prior to treatment. By incorporating the findings of a comprehensive evaluation of raw profile data and site factors, the robustness of a pavement management system can be improved through accurate prediction of the expected performance of a diamond ground section.