The US highway system is the single largest public investment in history having an estimated initial cost of $3 trillion spread over many years. Unfortunately, it is steadily deteriorating, and the replacement cost could not readily be incurred without severe economic consequences. Stewardship of this investment is vital to America’s commerce, defense, and mobility with benefits spanning many generations. Delaying maintenance and repairs until major rehabilitation or replacement is necessary, leads to extensive and disruptive work that increases the potential for accidents, injuries, and fatalities among motorists and road workers. An alternate to this scenario is preservation of sound roadway pavements to assure physical/structural integrity and extension of their service lives before they need major rehabilitation or replacement. Opportunities are within reach to preserve and extend the service life of the pavement infrastructure while improving safety, minimizing congestion during construction activities, and reducing energy requirements and impacts to the environment. One major impediment to widespread implementation of preservation of the pavement infrastructure by transportation agencies is lack of knowledge on how to select preservation actions and when and where to apply them to get the most benefit for the least cost – or in other words, how to apply the right preservation action at the right time to the right pavement. There are significant gaps in the understanding of pavement preservation and it will require a comprehensive and broadly supported program of research, development, and technology transfer to fill those gaps.
While significant efforts on the part of FHWA and State Highway Agencies have taken place in promoting highway pavement preservation, they mainly promote raising awareness about the need for pavement preservation, the role of preservation in transportation asset management, and the economics of preservation versus reconstruction. However, there has not been a concerted effort on research and education activities focused on highway pavement preservation. With the establishment of the National Center for Pavement Preservation (NCPP) as the national pavement preservation clearinghouse for pavement preservation to practitioners throughout the US, it was only a matter of time before a research and education center on the subject would be established.
In 2013, the USDOT designated the Center for Highway Pavement Preservation (CHPP) as a Tier 1 University Transportation Center. CHPP has received $1.4 million during the first year of the program, and is to receive another $1.4 million during the next fiscal year, with funding projected to extend through 2017. CHPP is one of three Tier 1 UTCs under the USDOT strategic goal of “State of Good Repair”, and is the only center that is focused on pavement preservation. MSU is the lead institution and collaborates with the University of Illinois, the University of Texas, the University of Minnesota, North Carolina A&T State University and the University of Hawaii. This consortium will work on moving pavement preservation research and education forward!
The main focus of the Center is the infusion of science and innovative technology to pavement preservation. The proposed research focuses on the development of sustainable and intelligent highway preservation solutions for pavements. Research activities are conducted in three main areas: Innovative materials, smart health monitoring, and performance data management and economic analysis for improved highway asset management. The Center sponsors research, education, outreach and technology transfer activities to promote integrated, innovative solutions for highway pavement preservation.
Please feel free to contact us for more information and explore our website for more information on our research, education and outreach activities.