About the research
Deciding when to remove spring load restrictions (SLRs) on roadways is complicated given the variable time window during and after thawing when excess moisture remains in the base and subgrade layers, causing the overall roadway structure to remain weak. The main objective of this project was to develop an economical and easy-to-use protocol for timing SLR removal.
To develop the model, the research team utilized falling weight deflectometer (FWD) data from three test cells at the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT’s) MnROAD research facility. FWD data from nine other sites were used to validate the model, with three sites in North Dakota, three in New Hampshire, two in New York, and one in Maine. Numerous statistical analyses were performed on the FWD data sets, and model/protocol development considered factors such as base layer and subgrade type, effects of moisture, and depth to the groundwater table.
The researchers created a decision tree to help agencies implement the SLR removal guidelines developed in this study. To use the decision tree effectively, it is necessary to know information about the roadway structure, base layer(s), and subgrade soils and the approximate depth to the groundwater table. Using this methodology may help transportation agencies lift their SLRs more quickly than they have in the past.