A five-state consortium headed by a research center at North Dakota State University (NDSU) will receive an annual $2.5 million federal grant for the next five years to study methods of preserving and improving transportation infrastructure.
The consortium, led by NDSU's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, has secured funding in every university competition run by the U.S. Department of Transportation since the program was established in 1988.
NDSU is one of eight universities in the Mountain-Plains Consortium to receive the funding. The consortium covers North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, and encompasses 408,000 miles of public roads and nearly 25,000 bridges.
Most of the research will focus on transportation issues common to those states. Safety challenges include heavy transport trucks and passenger cars sharing the same space.
In addition to improved safety, consortium members hope the research will lead to pavements and structures that last longer, making the best use of taxpayer dollars.
Some areas of research could include new materials used to make bridges and using sensors to monitor bridge deterioration.
The grant is expected to provide partial support for the work of about 10 researchers and faculty, and about 20 graduate students at NDSU.