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Shad Sargand, associate director of Ohio University’s Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment, stands in front of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s Mobile Infrastructure Lab, is used to test pavement in the field.

Shad Sargand, associate director of Ohio University’s Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment, stands in front of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s Mobile Infrastructure Lab, used to test pavement in the field.

Photo courtesy of: Russ College of Engineering

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Groundbreaking ceremony held for OHIO-ODOT test pavement project in Vinton County


Ohio University’s Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment (ORITE) and the Ohio Department of Transportation broke ground on Ohio’s first low-volume, two-lane test road Thursday, July 6.

The project was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on US 50 in Vinton County. The joint effort between ODOT and ORITE will use a 1.44-mile stretch of the road to test ways to preserve pavement.

“Meetings and discussions with county engineers, local agencies, and DOT personnel indicated the next step was to establish the Southern Ohio Low Volume Experimental Road (SOLVER) as a means to evaluate the performance of various mixes, materials, construction processes and maintenance,” said ORITE Associate Director Shad Sargand. “The findings will take on increasing significance as Ohio moves from reactive to preventative maintenance as a strategy for better stewarding taxpayer dollars.” 

The groups hope that the project will benefit various organizations charged with preserving Ohio's low-volume roadways, including counties and townships.

In the past, test pavement was only constructed on heavily traveled Ohio freeways, including US 23 in Delaware County and US 30 in Wayne County. Given that 78 percent of Ohio’s roads are low-volume roads, it makes sense to pursue the project in Vinton County, Sargand said.

The contractor on the $3.8 million project is Shelly & Sands. The project is estimated to be complete in November.

The ceremony took place at the intersection of Clark Road and US 50 in Vinton County.