FDOT opens unique concrete testing site on U.S. 301

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Drivers on northbound U.S. 301 will play an important role in the Florida Department of Transportation’s effort to identify the most effective concrete pavement designs throughout the state.

A new concrete “test road” is the first of its kind in the southeastern United States: a field laboratory that utilizes live traffic loads to test concrete pavement and base designs.Pavement testing equipment and monitors are strategically placed along the four-mile roadway segment, allowing engineers to monitor pavement conditions in real time under live traffic, including heavy truck traffic. The concrete test road’s innovative design will utilize the existing U.S. 301 northbound lanes to divert traffic off the test road when needed, providing engineers full access to the test areas.

“The concrete test road is a unique facility that incorporates cutting-edge technology to help further our understanding of pavement safety and performance,” said FDOT state materials engineer Howie Mosely. “The information we collect will help us optimize concrete pavement designs for safety, longevity and cost-effectiveness, ultimately delivering a better roadway experience to residents and visitors to our state.”

Officials say the concept also allows for new test sections to be constructed without interruption to U.S. 301 traffic. The test road is located just south of County Road 218 to just north of Richard Mosely Road.

“Serving Florida’s communities is the heart of FDOT’s mission and U.S. 301 concrete test road is an innovative tool to allow us to improve our roads,” said FDOT secretary Jared W. Perdue. “Using innovative technologies to collect real time data on the efficacy of various types of concrete available to use on Florida’s roads allows us to use the most effective materials to create resilient transportation corridors and reliable supply chains while prudently using taxpayer dollars.

“The more resilient the materials we use, the longer they last, reducing our maintenance costs and construction times, limiting the congestion travelers feel in active work zones.”

The concrete test road is located parallel to the existing U.S. 301 northbound lanes from Richard Mosely Road to County Road 218. U.S. 301 northbound drivers will be diverted onto the test road just after Richard Mosely Road and reconnect with existing U.S. 301 northbound lanes at the end of the track.

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