The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


From the Director

by Dave Clarke, P.E.

As I write this, April showers are hard at work, hopefully bringing May flowers. I know they're making my grass grow!

It's obviously been a rough winter, judging from the craters I'm dodging on my travels around the state. I can't recall seeing this many potholes since the late 1970s. A lot of them seem to be the result of overlays de-bonding and breaking away. Our pavements definitely have a lot of problems that need to be addressed during this year's maintenance season! There's been a lot of pavement distress research conducted over the years. Given the magnitude of the pothole problem, we haven't gotten enough solutions into practice.

With that said, I'd like to make you aware of several new TTAP initiatives that are now in the early stages of development. First, TTAP will partner with TDOT and FHWA to develop and conduct demonstrations of innovative products and technologies. TTAP has always supported FHWA's Every Day Counts initiatives, which highlight innovations. During 2014, TTAP sponsored a demonstration of the Safety Edge pavement treatment. We think such demonstrations are an important and highly effective means of technology transfer. If new practices aren't publicized, implementation will be slow at best.

Our next demonstration, now being scheduled, will showcase High-Friction Surface Treatments (HFST). HFSTs can be applied at relatively-low costs using hand tools, dramatically increasing surface friction at locations-including curves and intersection approaches-where wet-weather crashes are common. Please let us know if you have suggestions for a product demonstration. We'll seriously consider them.

Our second planned initiative is development of a series of technical materials that will highlight common topics of interest or importance to Tennessee's local roadway agencies. The TTAP produced Work Zone flipbook has been extremely popular over the years. We plan for the new guides to draw from numerous sources and place the information in a concise, easy-to-understand format. They will incorporate Tennessee-specific regulations, policies, and examples. Where appropriate, guides will highlight techniques and practices suited to our conditions.

Thinking outside the box, we are seriously considering the use of YouTube and/or "apps" suitable for tablets and smartphones as distribution media, rather than being limited to print format. These have some exciting possibilities, as most of you are aware. At any rate, stay tuned. We would love to hear suggestions from you about what you need and what formats would be most useful.

That's it for now. As always, if we can help, please don't hesitate to call or email. TTAP looks forward to assisting you. Stay cool!