University Research Institute Creates Road Repair Solution

NRRI senior researcher Larry Zanko looks on as City of Duluth maintenance crew member Don Jones applies the innovative taconite-based road repair compound in a demonstration effort this past summer. Photo courtesy of NRRI.

A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) (Duluth, Minnesota, USA) developed and patented a long-lasting pothole repair material that uses waste taconite rock, a form of iron-bearing sedimentary rock commonly found in Minnesota, and other natural resources from the state’s Iron Range mining districts. These mineral materials are blended with a liquid activator that sets up rapidly.

Recently, the City of Duluth invited NRRI to test their road repair solution on some potholes in the West Duluth district. The material was designed to set to a hard-set patch within 10 to 20 minutes, particularly in warmer weather. NRRI’s project focused primarily on making the road material strong enough for one season, but the ultimate plan is to further develop its solution so that it can endure cold weather conditions over the course of many seasons.

NRRI was aided in the development of its road repair product by a small Iron Range company, Advanced Road Patch LLC, that also purchased the commercial license. Currently, the material is still in the research phase and NRRI has no timetable for when it will hit the market. NRRI also received support from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB).

“We are excited to partner with NRRI to find creative solutions for a rampant issue that plagues our city and many others across the nation,” said City of Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. “Short term patching is hard and frustrating work. This material could maximize our staff resources and provide tangible results. We thank NRRI for bringing forth this new technology and look forward to seeing the product advance.”

To see the road repair solution in action, visit the UMNDuluth YouTube page or click the embedded NRRI Pothole Project link. 

Source: NRRI,