Minnesota Local Road Research Board News & Updates

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Local Road Research Board News

July 2021

New Guidebook: Full Depth Reclamation for Urban and Suburban Street Application

LRRB YouTube: Full Depth Reclamation

The question of feasibility of Full Depth Reclamation (FDR) in an urban setting has been asked by city and county engineers across Minnesota. FDR is a viable strategy in an urban environment when a simple mill and overlay is insufficient.

To help cities and counties, the LRRB developed a new FDR Resource Guide that leverages other technical documents to determine feasibility and conduct FDR within urban areas.

Guidebook 2021RIC02

Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Minnesota’s Transportation Workforce

Workers in yellow vests construct a roadway.

POLICY & PLANNING — With an aging workforce, Minnesota’s public transportation agencies must attract the next generation of employees. To improve the pool of qualified applicants and build a healthy workforce pipeline for the future, the LRRB sponsored an evaluation of local agency hiring policies and workplace culture. The work culminated in a variety of recommendations to enhance the recruitment process and increase on-the-job satisfaction. From targeted marketing campaigns and clearer job descriptions to more opportunities for advancement, the strategies identified by the research team will help Minnesota’s transportation agencies attract and retain a younger and more diverse workforce for years to come.

Factsheet (PDF)

Report 2021-06

Need Funding for a Great Idea? Submit an OPERA Proposal by September 24

Side-dumping plow truck

Do you have an idea for a quick fix or homemade gadget that would make your job safer and more efficient? Or maybe it’s a more complicated solution that would make a big difference at your agency—if only you had the budget to get it done.

Whatever it is, the Local Operational Research Assistance (OPERA) Program wants to help you make it happen!

The program provides funding up to $20,000 per project for local agencies in Minnesota—all you have to do is send us your idea. Simply fill out the brief proposal application (DOCX) and submit it via email to Mindy Carlson at Minnesota LTAP.

Proposals are due by September 24, 2021. Funding is limited, and proposals are considered as they are received, so don't miss your chance!

OPERA: Apply for Funding

OPERA Project: Trail Plow Cutting Edges

Trail Plow

City of Eagan Public Works staff found using tungsten carbide cutting edges instead of standard steel on trail plows could provide a net reduction in replacement costs over the life cycle of the cutting edge while maintaining the quality of snow removal.

Fact Sheet: Trail Plow Cutting Edges (PDF)

LTAP Workshop: Management Operations and Maintenance Fundamentals

Transportation staff attending training

This course relates to the delivery of maintenance and operations services to the public, commonly known as public works. It will identify the equipment and personnel resources needed for efficient and effective service delivery. Discussions will include what to consider when deciding to either purchase or lease equipment, in-house vs. contracting out work functions, emergency preparedness planning, and environmental responsibilities.

The workshop will be held on September 13, 2021, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (registration begins at 8:00 a.m.) at the St. Louis County Highway Department, 1425 E 23rd Street, Hibbing, MN 55746.

For more fall LTAP and CTAP training opportunities, visit MN LTAP

Minnesota LTAP Management Operations Workshop

Separated Bike Lanes: Filling the Gaps in Design Guidance

Paired photographs show bike lanes in winter along a roadway from the point of view of the gloved cyclist, looking forward over the handlebars.

MULTIMODAL — Cities across the country are installing separated bike lanes (SBLs) to encourage bicycling as a means of transportation, but current SBL design guidance is incomplete. Researchers collected all existing SBL guidance to determine the gaps in knowledge. They interviewed planners and designers to learn about their challenges. Then they surveyed hundreds of Minnesota bicyclists about their bike lane preferences, including aspects of winter riding. SBL design guidance is evolving. This project gathered an enormous amount of data, practitioner perspectives and user information to fill in the gaps of SBL design knowledge. It is a step toward making safe urban bike networks more common.

Report 2021-12

New Tools and Protocols for Successful Infiltration Facilities

A waist-high metal tool with red handles and two vertical rods attached to a can-like double-ring apparatus that is inserted into the ground

ENVIRONMENTAL — MnDOT and local agencies control stormwater runoff from roadways through a range of settlement, filtration and infiltration facilities, such as wet ponds, infiltration basins, trenches and swales. Infiltration facilities have been used for more than 30 years, but a high rate of failure has been tied to inaccurate determination of soil infiltration rates. Researchers developed new tools and protocols to provide designers and engineers with the accurate infiltration measures they need, from initial site selection through construction. These tools and methods will support the development of successful stormwater infiltration facilities along Minnesota roadways.

Report 2021-14

Minnesota Crews Target Changes to Reduce Chlorides in Runoff

City of Edina testing chloride levels in snow pack.

MAINTENANCE — Road deicing is a major cause of chloride impairment in Minnesota’s urban waters. Aiming to reduce these impacts, Minnesota DOT researchers partnered with the City of Edina to test an adaptive management approach to deicing.

Through adaptive management—repeatedly checking the effects of actions and making adjustments—the researchers found that most of the chloride movement in a residential watershed occurred during a small number of winter events, which allowed maintenance staff to make targeted adjustments to their deicing operations. Researchers created a training manual on using adaptive management for deicing and a spreadsheet tool to help agencies improve their deicing operations.

Final Report 2021-07

Improved In-Vehicle Lane Departure Warning System Approaches Commercial Use

Lane departure warning system

TRAFFIC & SAFETY — Drivers who unintentionally drift out of their lanes or run off the road cause more than half of the fatal crashes on American roadways. Lane departure warning systems can reduce that statistic considerably, but currently they are costly additions to vehicles. In this project, researchers enhanced an inexpensive in-vehicle lane departure warning system that uses standard GPS data rather than more expensive, high-level GPS or cameras that are used currently in luxury cars. With an improved algorithm to estimate a vehicle’s lateral position accurately on roadways, researchers are moving toward the implementation stage: an inexpensive and accessible commercial product that can greatly improve driver safety.

Report 2021-17

LTAP Webinar: Pavement Preservation Longitudinal Joints

This 90-minute webinar, held June 23, 2021, focused on proactively reducing or eliminating maintenance costs on longitudinal joints, which often show premature distress due to lower density obtained during construction.

The webinar covered multiple ways to achieve better density, lower voids, and optimal performance at longitudinal joints to eliminate premature failure. Presentations reviewed optimal construction techniques, void reducing asphalt membrane, and warm-mix additives.

Minnesota LTAP Pavement Preservation Longitudinal Joints Webinar

Transportation Library E-Books Available to Cities, Counties

Selection of transportation e-books available through the MnDOT library.

The MnDOT Library is excited to introduce a new service called cloudLibrary, which allows enables local agencies to borrow ebooks remotely.

The new collection features ebooks that support professional development, as well as policy and planning topics. Through the Minnesota Transportation Libraries Program, the ebooks collection is available to all city and county engineers and practitioners - all you need is a MnDOT library card ID.  If you don’t have one ID, contact the Library.

How to access MnDOT’s ebook collection from your phone or other devices:

  • Phones and Tablets
    • Download the cloudLibrary app from the Apple App Store (Apple devices), Google Play Store (Android devices) or cloudLibrary website (all compatible devices)
    • Select Minnesota as your state.
    • Select MnDOT from the dropdown list of libraries.
    • Log in with your MnDOT Library card ID. No password is required.
    • Start browsing the titles!
  • Desktop
    • Read ebooks directly on your browser (no download needed) from cloudLibrary.

Subscribe to New Research Projects for Alerts

Check out our newest research projects that are just getting started. See a topic you're interested in? Visit the project page and "Subscribe for Updates" to receive email alerts when findings are available.

Job Postings

MnDOT invites and encourages participation by all. If you need an ASL, a foreign language interpreter, or other reasonable accommodation, or need documents in an alternative format (such as braille or large print), please email your request to Janet Miller at ADArequest.dot@state.mn.us or call 651-366-4720.