Published: Dec. 5, 2013

Set in stone: MSU home to national pavement preservation center

Contact(s): Tom Oswald Media Communications office: (517) 432-0920 cell: (517) 281-7129, Karim Chatti Civil and Environmental Engineering office: (517) 355-5133

With nearly 4 million miles of public roads criss crossing the United States and millions of dollars spent to maintain them, it’s imperative that researchers look for better ways to preserve these roadways.

That work is being advanced at the Michigan State University Transportation Center on Highway Pavement Preservation, a new center located at MSU that has been designated as a U.S. Department of Transportation Tier 1 University Transportation Center.

The newly formed center will lead a national consortium whose mission is to develop new strategies for extending pavement life. It will receive $1.4 million during the first year of the program and is expected to receive similar funding levels for the next year, with funding through 2017.

Karim Chatti, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the MSU College of Engineering, will lead the project. He said the center’s work will focus on three areas.

*Materials: Improved materials to extend the lives of highway systems.

*Monitoring: Innovative sensing technologies, including wireless sensor networks and nondestructive evaluation, for identifying the onset of distress and damage.

*Performance and management: Improved data management tools for scheduling optimal highway pavement preservation actions and strategies for better highway asset management.

“There are significant gaps in the understanding of pavement preservation,” Chatti said. “It will require a comprehensive and broadly supported program of research, development and technology transfer to fill those gaps.”

MSU is the lead institution and will collaborate with the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the University of Texas, Austin; the University of Minnesota; North Carolina A&T State University; and the University of Hawaii.

“We positioned ourselves early on as a credible research group in this area,” Chatti said. “With the establishment in 2003 of the National Center for Pavement Preservation as the national clearinghouse for pavement preservation to practitioners throughout the U.S., it was only a matter of time before a research center on the subject would be established.”

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