Accelerated Performance Testing on the 2024 NCAT Pavement Test Track with MnROAD Research Partnership

The National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) Pavement Test Track was originally constructed as a result of interest and support from state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) who shared a concern for building and preserving safe, sustainable, resilient, and cost-effective pavement infrastructure. Track research operations began in the summer of 2000. Forty-six 200-ft test sections were subjected to 10 million equivalent single axle loadings (ESALs) of heavy truck traffic through December of 2002. Test sections were rebuilt in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018, and 2021 with 10 million ESALs applied within each 3-year research cycle. NCAT began formally partnering with the Minnesota Road Research Project (MnROAD) in 2015 to execute nationally relevant research in both mix performance testing and pavement preservation. Positive experiences with implementable findings that reduce the life cycle cost of flexible pavements and facilitate rapid deployment of sustainable technologies have made this research an outstanding investment for numerous state DOTs, who pool their resources to share the cost of construction, operations, and research in a cooperative manner. The summer 2024 rebuild is the starting point for the nineth research cycle, with many high reward research options available for potential sponsors. NCAT is again partnering with MnROAD in the 2024 research cycle to execute a pavement performance experiment with nationwide implementation impact. The primary objectives of the pooled fund project described herein will be: (1) Constructing, maintaining, and/or rebuilding experimental pavements on the existing 1.7-mile NCAT test oval and the MnROAD mainline bypass that are representative of in-service roadways on the open transportation infrastructure; (2) Applying accelerated performance truck traffic after construction for the duration of the 3-year research cycle; (3) Assessing/comparing the functional and structural field performance of trafficked sections on a regular basis via surface and subsurface measures; (4) Validating/calibrating new and existing methodologies for analysis and design using pavement surface condition, pavement load response, precise traffic and environmental logging, and cumulative damage; (5) Correlating field results with laboratory data for both mix and structural performance; and (6) Answering practical questions posed by research sponsors through formal (i.e., reports and technical papers) and informal (e.g., one-on-one responses to sponsor inquiries) technology transfer. For example, can pavement thickness be reduced as a result of the addition of mix additives, and if so does the thickness reduction offset any additional cost of construction?


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01915271
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Federal Highway Administration
  • Contract Numbers: TPF-5(531)
  • Created Date: Apr 16 2024 7:25PM