Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Oct. 12, 2018

MnDOT, road research partners to test new bio-based asphalt

Nighttime lane closures may occur on westbound I-94 near Albertville Oct. 12-13

MONTICELLO, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation and two private companies, Cargill and Hardrives, will begin testing a new bio-based asphalt product this week at the MnROAD research facilities along Interstate 94 near Albertville, Minn. Motorists can expect some nighttime lane closures on westbound I-94 Oct. 12-13 while the test section is being constructed.

Researchers will be testing Anova, which is a new class of asphalt additives called rejuvenators that promise to reverse the effects of aging when the existing asphalt roadway is recycled back into the new road. It’s expected that this technology will reduce the cost of construction and allow for more recycling to be used. That means savings for taxpayers with the same or better level of service for the driving public.

This project is environmentally friendly in at least two ways:

  • The rejuvenator is a bio-based product, using plants rather than petroleum products to add resilience back to the recycled portion of the asphalt mix.
  • Cargill and Hardrives will be using a significant amount of additional recycled asphalt product or RAP in the mix. This is asphalt that has been removed from a road, ground up and reused for the new surface. Typical paving projects would use about 25 percent RAP in the mix; this project will be pushing the limits to 45 percent RAP. MnROAD, as a test facility, allows construction of roads sections that test the boundaries.

“It’s great to see a practical application of innovative technologies, and to really test them the way only MnROAD can. This is an example of being able to take large steps forward in the development of sustainable, durable pavements,” said Ben Worel, MnROAD research operations engineer and project manager for this partnership.

“Working with Cargill and Hardrives has been an amazing learning experience for us. We hope this is a first step in establishing more partnerships with Minnesota companies, and private companies around the country, through our work with the National Road Research Alliance,” Worel said.

“We believe it’s time for the asphalt industry to look beyond recipe specifications and focus more on real-world results,” said Rob Neumann, global category leader, Cargill. “Investments in research and development have yielded advances in asphalt technology, but industry standards haven’t always kept pace.”

MnROAD, is one of the premiere pavement research facilities in the U.S. specializing in cold-weather research. Built by MnDOT between 1991-93, MnROAD collects detailed pavement performance data along with thousands of pavement sensors located throughout the test sections.

The National Road Research Alliance, combines the resources of six state DOTS and more than 40 private companies, universities and associations to conduct research at MnROAD. Its mandate is to improve the future of roads through “strategic implementation through cooperative pavement research.”