The International Grooving and Grinding Association (IGGA) recently announced construction of diamond grinding and grooving test sections at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) Smart Road. These test sections were constructed to facilitate future road research by VTTI and others. In January 2011, Safety Grooving and Grinding constructed three test strips situated on two test areas. The three test strips included a conventionally diamond ground (CDG) section and an area that was both CDG followed by longitudinal grooving of each half of the lane using two different groove spacings; ½ inch and ¾ inch. Each of the two test areas were ground one lane wide and 528 feet long.

Smart Road Facility

The Virginia Smart Road is a 2.2 mile long, two lane closed roadway which is used for highway and bridge research as well as vehicle and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) research. The research facility, completed in 2002, is located near Blacksburg, Virginia, the home of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). The research facility is a joint project between the Virginia DOT, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the Federal Highway Administration. The research facility currently has 14 different experimental pavement sections constructed on its test track and the IGGA has just constructed two more sections. Four hundred electronic sensors are buried in the road monitoring moisture, weight and speed of vehicles, and pavement stresses and strains.

The dedicated research facility has many unique features including weather making capability (rain, snow, fog), a variable lighting test bed, pavement markings, road weather information systems, and road access surveillance systems. The facility also includes a signalized intersection and an advanced communication system using both wireless LAN and fiber-optic based systems. The communications network is used to transfer data between pavements, vehicles, and the research facility.

Concrete Test Section Background

The Smart Road facility had only two concrete test sections; an approximately 3,000-foot-long continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) section and a 1,200-foot-long plain jointed section. Both sections are located on a 6 percent grade and were textured with uniform transverse tining.

The test section construction was donated by the IGGA and Safety Grooving and Grinding to take advantage of VTTI’s surface characteristics leadership in the U.S. Their dedicated research staff conducts annual profiler and skid trailer comparisons. This will allow them to study the impact of grinding and grooving on profiler measurements and on friction test results. In addition, the sections allow the future evaluation of splash and spray as the VTTI facility has this capability as well.