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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU civil engineering partners with NMDOT to assess condition of highway pavements

The New Mexico Department of Transportation has partnered with NMSU civil engineering faculty Paola Bandini and Douglas Cortes to carry out the 2012 Pavement Condition Program.


A man holds a clipboard and takes notes about cracks in a New Mexico highway, while wearing high visibility clothing to alert drivers to his presence.
Civil engineering student Justin Lindsey inspects a crack in the highway as part of NMDOT's Pavement Condition Program. (NMSU photo by Paola Bandini)

This summer, 12 civil engineering students will evaluate the surface condition of 5,000 miles of state-maintained highway pavements throughout central and southern New Mexico. The students will be trained and supervised by the faculty. The pavement condition assessment consists of evaluating and rating the severity and extent of eight types of surface pavement distresses, which are signs of deterioration of the pavement structure. The program has been expanded this year to obtain additional pavement condition data needed for annual reporting to the Highway Performance Monitoring System of the Federal Highway Administration.

The data collected will be compiled and carefully checked according to the quality assurance and quality control plan before being reported to NMDOT this fall. This NMDOT professional service agreement provides $346,618 for the project.

Bandini directed the Pavement Evaluation Program for NMDOT from 2006 through 2009. Pavement condition data were not collected in New Mexico in the following two years because of the state's budget constraints.

These pavement condition data are vital for the NMDOT's pavement management system to make decisions on budget, maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction of New Mexico's highway network. The pavement condition data are also used in the state's annual reports of the conditions of New Mexico highways for the legislature.

"This partnership of NMDOT and NMSU contributes to building research capacity of the Civil Engineering Department in transportation engineering and provides an excellent work and technical experience to a number of students in New Mexico," said Bandini.