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New test track to aid pavement assessment and research

IDOT Blog – Monday, September 27, 2021

A new 1-mile test track in Clinton County will help IDOT’s Bureau of Research calibrate equipment used to assess pavement condition. Currently under construction, the track will be one of only four of its kind in the nation when it is completed in 2022.

“What makes our track unique is that it will have all pavement types – continuously reinforced concrete pavement, full-depth hot-mix asphalt pavement and jointed plain concrete pavement – for certifying equipment,” said John Senger, Engineer of Pavement Technology in the Bureau of Research. “Additionally, this track will offer various textures to challenge the capabilities of the equipment to ensure it is working properly.”

Located along the south side of U.S. 50 between Breese and Trenton, the track covers multiple disciplines in pavement testing, including ride, friction and structural assessment. It also will offer at least six different textured surfaces for skid testing correlation, as well as copper plates for ground-penetrating radar testing.

“The goal was to make the facility as multifunctional as possible to maximize the return on our investment,” Senger said. “We anticipate other states and private companies paying to use the track as well.”

IDOT regularly tests state highways for ride quality, friction availability and structural integrity. Data collection vans are used to collect various metrics every year. To ensure accuracy, each test vehicle must be certified annually. Certification – and any necessary calibration – will be completed on the test track, which will not be part of the regular roadway or be open to traffic.