Michigan Governor John Engler signed new legislation into law for innovative road construction techniques.
Senate Bill 563 will allow the Michigan Department of Transportation to conduct up to four pavement demonstration projects each year to evaluate new and innovative materials, pavement designs and construction methods. Under previous law, the department was limited in its use of paving techniques common in other states but new to Michigan because it was required to consider state historical cost and performance data.
The projects will be selected based on any of the following criteria:
* Pavement designs intended to increase pavement life expectancy;
* Pavement designs intended to improve performance, including but not limited to friction, surface stress, reduction of noise and improvement of ride quality; and
* Comparisons of performances of various types of pavement.
At the end of the demonstration period, a final report will follow to assess the cost-effectiveness and performance of the materials and/or design used in the project.
The legislation is expected to give more flexibility to the department to try out high-performance pavements that have a good track record in other states but might not have been used in Michigan previously.