An image taken from WISH-TV of a pothole in the road.
PHOTO; WISH-TV

New Technology From Purdue To Prevent Potholes

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Potholes are always a big problem for Indiana’s roads with the constant rising and falling of temperatures during the cold winter months.

Potholes form when water seeps into small cracks in the pavement of roads, then freezes and expands causing the pavement to crumble and form a large hole in that can damage your car if you hit it just right.

Luna Lu is a civil engineering professor at Purdue University and tells WISH-TV’s “UnPhiltered” that the Indiana Dept. of Transportation approached her in 2017 about figuring out a solution to use technology to prevent potholes from deteriorating Indiana’s roads.

“Potholes in the United States have an average cost of about $600 per driver, per year,” said Lu. “So it’s a very big problem right?”

Her solution is a censor she has developed. The sensor is embedded in the new concrete or asphalt when it is poured while re-paving a roadway. The censor then keeps track of the material’s strength.

“We can cut (down on) the frequent repair of the fixing of potholes,” Lu said of the new technology. “Number two: we can extend the lifetime of the road and the pavement.”

The censor uploads real-time data about the strength of any given roadway to the cloud for transportation workers to review and study accordingly. INDOT has been using these sensors on a trial basis on Interstate 70 and Interstate 74 for the last couple of years.

Lu said the tech has been working well and added that departments of transportation in other state’s like California, Utah, Tennessee, and Colorado to name a few have already said they would like to start using the technology once it’s ready to be rolled out on a nationwide scale.

Lu said they still have a few things to work out, like nationwide testing standards. For that, they are working with the Federal Highway Administration.

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