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MnROAD's quest to make Minnesota roads pothole proof

MnROAD's quest to make Minnesota roads pothole proof
MnROAD's quest to make Minnesota roads pothole proof 01:56

OTSEGO, Minn. – Minnesota is making some progress on its massive pothole problem.

In Minneapolis, crews have used around 2,000 tons of hot mix to patch up streets throughout the city

At the state level, engineers with MnROAD's research facility in Otsego are working on solutions.

"We're looking right now on researching a lot of different ways to be building roads in a smarter fashion," said Ben Worel, an operations engineer. "Uniformity [in construction] is king. That's what you're looking for and providing the tools for these operators of the different construction equipment."

Part of the research includes finding mixtures of materials less impacted by water, which contributes to potholes forming.  

Behind-the-scenes of the "pothole lab" 03:01

Thousands of sensors monitor dozens of road materials over miles of track at the facility. They pick up data like temperature, moisture levels and the amount of bend in the concrete.

"Trying things on a small scale here at our facility can lead towards implementation throughout the state," Worel said.

MORE: What's the difference between "cold" and "hot" mixes for filling potholes?

Worel says saying goodbye to potholes permanently is probably a pipe dream though, as long as all different kinds of roads exist built across many years.

"There's a balancing act here on how you balance your money and get the best performance for your network," he said.

Another focus of the state's research is on more environmentally sustainable mixtures that use less cement.

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