Team testing tool for pothole prevention

Team testing tool for pothole prevention

A research team is testing a tool in Winnipeg with the aim of building roads that are better resistant to potholes.

The truck-mounted technology, known as a falling weight deflectometer, is designed to help figure out what’s happening beneath a road’s surface, without ripping it up.

Rather than fill potholes or even predict them, the device tests the strength of a road by dropping 400 pounds of pressure on pavement, without causing damage.

University of Manitoba civil engineer Ahmed Shalaby said the point of all the pressure is to try and “simulate what happens when a truck drives on the pavement, and capture that information and make it available to the design engineer.”

The data gathered can help engineers understand how a road is performing and if it’s in need of maintenance repairs. 

“If our designs are adequate, we should not see potholes appearing for a long period of time,” said Shalaby.

The $1 million research program bringing the technology to Winnipeg received support from both the city and the province. 

Mayor Brian Bowman said it will allow city roads to be assessed earlier “so that the design work can make sure we’re using the right products and processes to make sure those roads can last even longer.” 

While the technology isn’t new, it is new to Winnipeg, and engineers say it will help stretch the city’s construction budget. It was tested in a trial run last construction season and will be tested on six roads that are scheduled for construction next year.

The city said this year its public works department has had to repair more than 67,000 potholes. 

With files from CTV’s Sarah Plowman

Published at Thu, 14 Jun 2018 08:59:01 -0400