Michigan Engineering News

Op-ed: Innovation investments would extend life of roads

CEE professor Jerome Lynch, Neeraj Buch and Steven Lavrenz’s op-ed delves into new technologies that can make Michigan’s infrastructure more durable.

The best way to significantly improve Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges is to incorporate new technology, new ways of thinking and new partnerships to pay for it. Researchers at the three universities in Michigan’s University Research Corridor — Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University — already have a long list of ideas, models and prototypes that could put Michigan on the cutting edge of national technical leadership in these areas.

Take bendable concrete. When used as an upper roadway layer, this material would reduce surface damage evident in our roads and prevent potholes by adding a layer of mechanical flexibility.

The material also has been designed with capabilities that can enable concrete pavement to heal small cracks by themselves when exposed to rain water. This can make roads last longer, a key step as Michigan looks to build a transportation network that will last for the next 50 years with minimal maintenance. U-M Professor Victor Li has been the driving force behind this new take on an age-old product.

Read the full story in Crain’s Detroit Business.