Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Construction Updates


2017 Construction

NRRA Phase 3 Construction

View the full YouTube playlist of weekly video updates of the construction and engineer commentary.

Report on 2017 MnROAD Construction Activities (pdf)

Engineer's Weekly Update

2011 Construction

MnROAD 2011 Reconstruction and Repair of PCC Mainline Cells 5, 6, 63, & 96

Four test cells on the MnROAD Mainline were in need of reconstruction or substantial repairs in 2011. This opportunity allowed us to enhance the research program at MnROAD by evaluating and demonstrating the following materials and methods:

  • the performance of three gradations to optimize paste content, workability, and durability;
  • longitudinal tining as a quiet surface;
  • the use of drainable, stable aggregate bases to enhance pavement life; and
  • roller compacted concrete on the shoulders.

Also, a thin (5") unbonded concrete overlay using a non- woven geotextile interlayer was 
constructed on half a cell, and, repairs were made on a thin whitetopping cell to evaluate 
best practices to maintain concrete overlays.

Stabilized Full Depth Reclamation on Cell 28

With budgets being stretched and local sources of pavement materials being depleted, reconstruction of low volume roadways is becoming difficult for local agencies to fund. Cheaper methods, such as the use of gravel material, have been adopted to try and alleviate these costs.

The construction on Cell 28 explored alternative methods of paving that are both renewable and relatively inexpensive in overall costs. The plan attempted to utilize in situ materials of the previous Cell 28 construction to repave the cell in a sustainable manner using 100% of the existing materials. The cell consisted of 100% recycled pavement that has no transportation costs, material costs, and relatively inexpensive operating costs providing for a better quality road. This cell has the potential to serve as a model for maintaining thousands of low volume road miles.

2011 Engineer's Weekly Updates

2006 Construction Updates

In 2006 Cell 1, 27, and 28 were reconstructed by MnROAD. There were three significant aspects of research behind the test cell reconstruction: field validation of Geocomposite Capillary Barrier Drain (GCBD) for limiting moisture changes in pavements, Intelligent Compaction (IC) research performed on the unbound base and subgrade layers, and accelerated testing of PG 52-34 binder to support a Local Road Research Board (LRRB) project. These reports document the previous pavement condition, pavement structural and mixture designs, instrumentation plan, field construction activities, material sampling, and laboratory test results.

Pervious concrete helps to divert polluted and excess water from local water sources. In 2006 MnROAD and its partners collaborated on a pervious concrete sidewalk project to help study how to effectively use pervious concrete to best limit negative environmental factors.

2005 Construction Updates

In 2005, MnROAD continued to study the effectiveness of pervious concrete in its test cells. MnROAD was researching the pervious concrete's inherent sustainability during the varying environmental factors that come with each season especially safety during the winter seasons.

2004 Construction Updates

2004 marked several different construction and research projects for MnROAD. Cells 60- 63 were constructed using whitetopping technique to replace earlier whitetopping cells constructed in 1997. The report below contains the relevant information about the reconstruction and the data attained through the seven years research.

Mesabi Hard Rock aggregate began to be tested during 2004 resulting in several reports and studies. The purpose of the research was to see the utilization possibility of a new and Minnesota based resource.

Cell 26 was reconstructed to replace a test cell that had failed prematurely.

1999 Construction Updates

This paper's purpose is to provide an update on the pavement condition of MnROAD's three low volume road (LVR) SuperPave test cells constructed in 1999 with different asphalt binders. These cells were built to field validate the current low temperature performance grading (PG) system currently being used at MnDOT and many other agencies around the world.

1996 Construction Updates

This report focuses on the second construction phase of the Minnesota Road Research facility (MnROAD) and evaluates three typical, locally available, surfacing aggregates along with a rollover section from the initial phase for performance.