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Oct. 12, 2022

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Traffic shifts on westbound I-94 near Monticello for new pavement testing

Test pavement composed of various sustainable and recycled materials

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Westbound Interstate 94 traffic between Albertville and Monticello has shifted onto lanes within the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s MnROAD facility as part of new pavement testing projects studying a variety of sustainable and recycled materials within the pavement.

In July, crews paved the 3.5-mile test area into 39 new sections - 20 with asphalt and 19 with concrete. Each section contains different materials like fibers, recycled plastic bottles and other environmentally sustainable products to study how these mixtures perform under heavy traffic and in colder weather conditions.

Hundreds of sensors were placed underneath the test pavement to record temperature, moisture, strain on the pavement under traffic and other data to aid researchers during the project.
The National Road Research Alliance is leading many of the research efforts at MnDOT’s MnROAD facility, along with the National Center for Asphalt Technologies at Auburn University. Hundreds of partners from MnDOT and more than 20 universities and industry leaders also helped in the paving work.

“This new pavement research will help build better, more sustainable roads in Minnesota and around the world,” said Ben Worel, MnROAD’s research operations engineer. “Our MnROAD facility creates unique opportunities for researchers to test new and innovative products in a safe and controlled environment that benefits the industry, other transportation agencies and the everyday driver.”

MnDOT’s MnROAD facility opened in 1994 and has more than 10 miles of pavement test sections, including the 3.5-mile mainline section of I-94 used for testing new materials. Researchers from all over the world use MnROAD data and research to improve roads, especially in cold weather climates. Visit our MnROAD website to learn more about its history and ongoing research work.