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Author Topic: Facilities that states build for Testing  (Read 1154 times)

roadman65

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Facilities that states build for Testing
« on: November 20, 2022, 08:34:09 PM »

https://goo.gl/maps/EDMHsKaRdVmC3hdD7

https://www.suntraxfl.com/

Does anyone know of any other state like Florida to build such a facility like Suntrax to test out various things related to roads?
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TheHighwayMan394

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« Last Edit: November 20, 2022, 08:46:03 PM by TheHighwayMan394 »
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plain

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2022, 09:31:55 PM »

Virginia's Smart Road
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Rothman

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2022, 10:16:35 PM »

Not a state, but FHWA has the Turner-Fairbanks Research Center.  Neat place to visit.
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hbelkins

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2022, 01:23:43 PM »

Virginia's Smart Road

Which was originally intended to become part of I-73 or I-74, or both.
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Big John

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2022, 05:23:13 PM »

Virginia's Smart Road

Which was originally intended to become part of I-73 or I-74, or both.
What is so smart about that? :ded:
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catch22

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2022, 07:12:16 AM »

American Center for Mobility near Ypsilanti, Michigan.  Part of the facility uses the former westbound lanes of US-12, which was a divided highway here through here and deconstructed to accommodate the project, and portions of the old Willow Run bomber plant property.

https://goo.gl/maps/ummKGVYVRuoE7h5u6

https://www.acmwillowrun.org/

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VTGoose

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2022, 09:00:58 AM »

Virginia's Smart Road

Which was originally intended to become part of I-73 or I-74, or both.

That wild idea came later. The route of the Smart Road was initially part of 15+ alternatives proposed to improve the connection between Blacksburg (home of Virginia Tech and at the time, 20,000+ students, plus football traffic) and I-81 at Christiansburg and ultimately to Roanoke and beyond. The proposals went from "do nothing" to various parallel roadways on either side of the existing inadequate highway to several direct routes to some location on I-81. The "connect the bypasses" plan was the one adopted. Several influential people saw a direct route from the end of the Blacksburg bypass to I-81 as the better alternative and pushed for it to happen (even though it wouldn't connect to I-81 very far north of the current exit 118). A number of ploys were put forth to eventually get the road built, including how it would solve the problem of the "connect the bypasses" becoming overburdened with traffic. Someone decided a road test bed would be a good start and the Smart Road was born (among much dissent and consternation at the time, since a lot of the proposal was made up out of thin air -- there was no hard study to show the need or benefits). The plan gained enough traction early in the design of the new road so that the junction of S. Main St., the end of the current bypass, and the new highway became quite complex with the addition of multiple ramps and overpasses (one of which, while rarely used as part of the Smart Road, was on the verge of failure) to be available when the new road was completed to I-81. Construction of the Smart Road started, including the tallest bridge in Virginia to carry the short section of highway over a deep valley, where the road ended in a turnaround loop. Fast forward a few years and the concept of a closed testbed took off, where various conditions could be controlled (an innovative water system was installed to produce rain at various intensities, and fog and snow under the right conditions). The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute landed a number of research contracts, expanded it studies with drivers operating their own vehicles that had been instrumented to record various inputs (I just completed a lengthy study with my Honda Passport with adaptive cruise control and lane assist to collect data on those features). The VTTI facilities expanded to include an area of surface streets and a new area under the tall bridge is now available with conditions found on various rural roads.

When the idea of I-73 popped up, some influential politicians were successful in having the routing established to run from Greensboro to Roanoke and on to West Virginia and beyond. The idea of an interstate connecting Roanoke and Greensboro is still alive but anything new west of Roanoke is pretty much dead. But to push the idea, completion of the Smart Road from I-81 to Blacksburg to then use U.S. 460 around Blacksburg as part of the interstate took hold. The problem was the lack of a reasonable (and acceptable) corridor through Giles County and the big issue, a lack of money. The idea that was proposed was that the Smart Road could continue to function as a research project, with the added benefit of having live traffic on the road. To allow for the original use of the road as a closed course, it was proposed that the road could be closed during certain times of the day with traffic routed on up to Exit 118 and on U.S 460 to reach Blacksburg and the continuation of I-73. The idea died but was brought up again briefly a few years ago (and again died for lack of any funding).

Bruce in Blacksburg
 
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Hot Rod Hootenanny

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2022, 12:19:26 PM »

Ohio & Honda's testing facility...
https://www.trcpg.com/
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hbelkins

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2022, 06:11:56 PM »

Virginia's Smart Road

Which was originally intended to become part of I-73 or I-74, or both.

That wild idea came later. The route of the Smart Road was initially part of 15+ alternatives proposed to improve the connection between Blacksburg (home of Virginia Tech and at the time, 20,000+ students, plus football traffic) and I-81 at Christiansburg and ultimately to Roanoke and beyond. The proposals went from "do nothing" to various parallel roadways on either side of the existing inadequate highway to several direct routes to some location on I-81. The "connect the bypasses" plan was the one adopted. Several influential people saw a direct route from the end of the Blacksburg bypass to I-81 as the better alternative and pushed for it to happen (even though it wouldn't connect to I-81 very far north of the current exit 118). A number of ploys were put forth to eventually get the road built, including how it would solve the problem of the "connect the bypasses" becoming overburdened with traffic. Someone decided a road test bed would be a good start and the Smart Road was born (among much dissent and consternation at the time, since a lot of the proposal was made up out of thin air -- there was no hard study to show the need or benefits). The plan gained enough traction early in the design of the new road so that the junction of S. Main St., the end of the current bypass, and the new highway became quite complex with the addition of multiple ramps and overpasses (one of which, while rarely used as part of the Smart Road, was on the verge of failure) to be available when the new road was completed to I-81. Construction of the Smart Road started, including the tallest bridge in Virginia

Using the directions you gave me, I drove down beneath that bridge when I spent that week in Blacksburg 18 years ago for a training class.

That bridge's honor as the tallest in your commonwealth has been overtaken by the new US 460 bridge just outside the border with my commonwealth. And the tallest bridge in my commonwealth is under construction just a few miles away from it.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2022, 07:26:26 PM »

In addition to the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio has two places where alternate roadways were built to allow traffic to be moved on/off roadways for testing different pavement conditions.

The older one is on US 23 near Waldo: https://goo.gl/maps/WzsM1NBBtVtxdTeu7

A newer one targeted at rural-two lane highways was built on US 50 in Vinton County several years ago. This stretch used a section that was built on a new alignment in the 1960s with ROW for 4 lanes, but where only one set of lanes was previously constructed: https://goo.gl/maps/VWhKAsmWXu9Hbj799
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pderocco

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2022, 01:59:52 AM »

I've encountered several places over the years where states have tried out several different kinds of pavement, or several different kinds of paint for striping, or several different kinds of gravel for drainage, all along a public highway, but I can't find any current Google Street View for it. However, Google Earth shows some gravel tests in the 7/2011 historical imagery at  34.960548, -117.438691.
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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2022, 04:22:46 AM »

Isn't there somewhere in Illinois along I-80 where they do that, or did that? Dad always likes to mention how they did some testing on I-80 when the interstates were new.
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VTGoose

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2022, 10:50:50 AM »

https://goo.gl/maps/EDMHsKaRdVmC3hdD7

https://www.suntraxfl.com/

Does anyone know of any other state like Florida to build such a facility like Suntrax to test out various things related to roads?

Florida has another test area on U.S. 301 south of Baldwin. The "Concrete Test Road" has been under construction since 2016 and has yet to open. It consists of a 2.5-mile section of two-lane roadway parallel to the existing northbound lanes of 301. If it opens, traffic can be diverted to the test lanes without disruption to traffic flow. Details here: https://www.fdot.gov/docs/default-source/materials/pavement/research/reports/stateroad/301.pdf
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Dirt Roads

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2022, 01:49:15 PM »

https://goo.gl/maps/EDMHsKaRdVmC3hdD7

https://www.suntraxfl.com/

Does anyone know of any other state like Florida to build such a facility like Suntrax to test out various things related to roads?

Florida has another test area on U.S. 301 south of Baldwin. The "Concrete Test Road" has been under construction since 2016 and has yet to open. It consists of a 2.5-mile section of two-lane roadway parallel to the existing northbound lanes of 301. If it opens, traffic can be diverted to the test lanes without disruption to traffic flow. Details here: https://www.fdot.gov/docs/default-source/materials/pavement/research/reports/stateroad/301.pdf

A test area on US-301 south of Baldwin has been there for a long time, as it was pretty old when I lived in Jacksonville back in the mid-1980s.  I remember specialty paint test areas both on the driving lanes on US-301 and on separate pavement that was lightly traveled.  The paints were tested on several types of concrete and pavement (I was surprised to see "Red dog" pavement in North Florida).  It also seemed like there were several other technologies being tested back then.  I'm assuming that the "Concrete Test Road" is in the same area, but I might be wrong.
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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2022, 08:50:55 PM »

Isn't there somewhere in Illinois along I-80 where they do that, or did that? Dad always likes to mention how they did some testing on I-80 when the interstates were new.

 There was a large testing oval built near I-80 in the early days of the Interstate Highway System to test various pavements.

US 89

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2022, 01:35:01 AM »

In my travels, pavement test areas have been common enough that I don't really give them a second thought.

However, there is a unique "traffic striping test site" in the left lane of I-84 eastbound approaching Tremonton, Utah. I've never seen anything like it anywhere else.

Bitmapped

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2022, 10:34:54 AM »

In my travels, pavement test areas have been common enough that I don't really give them a second thought.

However, there is a unique "traffic striping test site" in the left lane of I-84 eastbound approaching Tremonton, Utah. I've never seen anything like it anywhere else.

I don't recall that it was ever signed as such, but I-99 north of Altoona, PA had a similar section used for testing pavement markings.
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VTGoose

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2022, 11:13:46 AM »

In my travels, pavement test areas have been common enough that I don't really give them a second thought.

However, there is a unique "traffic striping test site" in the left lane of I-84 eastbound approaching Tremonton, Utah. I've never seen anything like it anywhere else.

Several states have striping tests. One is on I-4 around Lakeland, Fl. I seem to recall seeing one in South Carolina but don't remember the exact location.
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hbelkins

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2022, 09:01:13 PM »

Kentucky used to do striping tests on I-64 near Frankfort -- east of town on a concrete surface, and west of town on an asphalt surface.

There was some sort of test area, the nature of which I don't remember, on US 127 between Lawrenceburg and Harrodsburg a few years ago. There were even some signs noting it.

You used to occasionally see different pavement types tested in Kentucky, with signs marking the test areas. Haven't seen one of them in awhile.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: Facilities that states build for Testing
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2022, 02:00:51 PM »

NCAT test track outside of Auburn, AL

https://www.google.com/maps/place/NCAT+Test+Track/@32.5965044,-85.3026135,777m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x888ceaed1fcf4849:0x3fd3f10fa7488e83!8m2!3d32.5983622!4d-85.2969827
I've been to this one a couple times.  Company sends its pavement inspection vans down there once a year for certification.

But in the future, I think we're going to start using a new one a little closer to HQ.
Illinois has just finished a new pavement testing facility using the never-used eastbound carriageway for US 50 between Trenton and Aviston.  Located here:
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=38.61605,-449.64029&z=16&t=S
If you have Google Earth, you can toggle on historic aerials and actually see newer images that show the nearly completed facility.  Looks a bit like a drag strip or small town airport runway.
Certainly the most interesting such facility from a roadgeek perspective since it's utilizing space from a canceled freeway project.  US 50 was already an interesting showcase of oddities stemming from the aborted plans to build a freeway there, this just adds to it.  I can just imagine motorists watching construction of this facility in the last year or two and thinking, "Hey, maybe they're gonna actually build that freeway my grandpa was talking about!" :-D
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