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UTEP Civil Engineering Professor Receives Grants from TxDOT

Vivek Tandon, associate professor of civil engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso, has received several grants from the Texas Department of Transportation totaling $950,339.

Tandon received a $251,671 grant for the project Use of Geocells in Pavement Design, which focuses on evaluating enhancement of highway infrastructure service life via the use of newer generation of geocells (a three-dimensional structure which stabilizes infill material).

The project comes in response to the depletion of natural resources for construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure. Geocells have been developed to reduce the quantity of material needed, allowing the use of lower quality material without significant increase in construction costs while minimizing the need for transporting good quality material from sources away from construction sites.

The effectiveness of geocells as an infill material has not yet been fully researched and documented. In Tandon's project, UTEP researchers will characterize the mechanism for improved support, quantify the type of low quality material that can be used to fill the space of geocells, and quantify the difference in pavement thickness when incorporating the use of geocells.

For his project Cost Effective Alternatives to Seal Costs, Tandon received a grant award of $448,765 from TxDOT. The primary focus of this project is to develop mix design and construction guidelines for ultra-thin pavement layers that extend the life of pavements with optimal construction costs.

The study, which will be done in collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin, is in response to transportation agencies proposing to resurface the top layer of pavement with ultra-thin asphalt layers to maintain aging pavement infrastructure with minimal budget, thus extending the service life of pavement.

During the research, several mix designs will be developed and tested to assess the performance of these ultra-thin overlays with emphasis on important characteristics such as the ability to maintain skid resistance by simulating field conditions. This research will ultimately lead to the development of longer lasting, cost-efficient roadways.

Tandon also received a $249,903 grant for the project Understanding the Consequences and Costs of Climate Change to the Texas Department of Transportation, which comes in response to the risk TxDOT faces in spending hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds to maintain transportation infrastructure.

The potential consequences of climate change on the state's infrastructure include damage to highway pavements due to increased temperatures and more severe droughts, flooding of roadways due to rising sea levels, damage to roadways and bridges caused by severe storm surges along the Texas coast, and the buckling of railroad tracks due to higher temperatures.

This study will focus on developing a framework to assist with preventing significant unanticipated costs that would be imposed upon the Texas taxpayers and industry as a result of the damage due to climate change.


The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Engineering
Engineering Building Room A148
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Phone: (915) 747-6444
Fax: (915) 747-5437

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