Effect of Tree Shade on State Highway 34 Winter Maintenance Operations

Reducing the amount of road salt application, while maintaining safe driving conditions during winter months has been an important priority for northern states experiencing harsh winter condition. One method to reduce this amount is to allow maximum sun exposure of the roadway. However, sun exposure can be significantly reduced in wooded areas, due to tree shading from evergreens in close proximity to the pavement surface. While tree cutting can eliminate this problem, it can also result in excessive tree cutting without a significant increase in benefits from solar radiation. A more rigorous analysis and quantification of the effect of tree shade on pavement temperatures in winter, based on field data and heat transfer modelling, can provide optimal solutions for obtaining significant solar exposure with minimal tree cutting. MnDOT District 4 engineers, are interested in evaluating this effect to better understand the balance between optimal sun exposure and tree cutting activities as part of a new road project. The project involves paving from Becker County Road 29 to just west of Osage on State Highway 34 in summer of 2023. This winter, MnDOT will cut trees on both sides of the road back to 65’. In winter 23-24, they plan to do a 50% tree cutting on the easterly 7miles of the project (Snellman to Shell River), on the south side only, roughly from 65’ to 100’ from the edge of the roadway.


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    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $74,400.00
    • Contract Numbers:

      1036342 WO#96

    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Minnesota Department of Transportation

      395 John Ireland Boulevard
      St Paul, MN  United States  55155
    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

      Minneapolis, MN  United States  55455
    • Principal Investigators:

      Marasteanu, Mihai

    • Start Date: 20230320
    • Expected Completion Date: 20241031
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01876484
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Minnesota Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 1036342 WO#96
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Mar 22 2023 5:18PM