Will Iron Ore Byproducts be the Next Pothole Repair Material?

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Pothole.info continues to be the go-to source of information on potholes and how they affect our lives.

According to television news reporter Mark Albert on KSAX-TV in Minneapolis, “The website Pothole.info says, ‘drivers will spend $330 each year repairing your car from these hazards.’”

That was the bad news. But there may be better news on the prairie horizon, says Albert. He notes that the potholes in the Twin Cities in 2011 are “historic.” Addressing that problem, Albert spoke with a road crew working with pothole repair material from a Mendota Heights, Minn. company, TCC Materials. They are testing a pothole repair method using taconite aggregates, derived from iron ore mined in the considerable iron range areas of Minnesota.

Reportedly a more expensive patching material than typically used by most municipalities, it was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth, who are working on efficient and economic uses of mining byproducts. The Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), based at the University, hopes to transform 125 million tons of these byproducts into environmentally responsible and economically viable road construction and repair materials. In a study published in 2009 (“Using recycled taconite as alternative aggregate in asphalt pavements,” by Raul Velasquez, Mugurel Turos, Ki Hoon Moon, Larry Zanko and Mihai Marasteanu, Construction and Building Materials, Volume 23, Issue 9), one tested taconite aggregate was found to “perform slightly better than the mixtures prepared with standard aggregates” currently used in pothole repair.

Pothole.info provides news and analysis of how companies, institutions, individuals and local, state and national governments in the U.S. and abroad are addressing the challenges of pavement preservation and pothole abatement. The site includes a news feed as well as original articles and other content as a resource to individuals and organizations looking for solutions to the increasing number of potholes and other aspects of infrastructure decline. Part of this reporting includes coverage of emerging technologies in pavement construction and maintenance.