September 25, 2019

Construction traffic? New sensors to recommend exactly when roads should reopen

WHAT: Traffic gets held up waiting for new concrete pavement to be ready, but reopening roads too soon could also cause the concrete to crack.

Sensors developed by Purdue University engineers have been embedded into Indiana highways to more precisely determine when concrete pavement is ready to handle heavy truck traffic, as part of a collaboration with the Indiana Department of Transportation. The data will provide a new recommendation for when roads should reopen following a construction project.

The team is working with the Federal Highway Administration to implement the technology in other states. California, Texas, Kansas and Missouri are planning to join the study. 

EXPERT: Luna Lu, an associate professor in Purdue’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering, and her lab designed the sensors to track concrete strength development in real time, measuring properties such as hydration and stiffness.

Lu can speak on the impact of this technology and how it will inform new policies. 

QUOTE: “Fast-paced construction schedules can often expose concrete to traffic too early, causing premature failure. Our data will help us to recommend the best time for traffic to open and benefit taxpayers,” Lu said. 

MORE INFORMATION: Video of the project is available at Read more about the study at

Writer: Kayla Wiles, 765-494-2432,

Source: Luna Lu, 765-494-5842,

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