Latest News from KTC

The Center is a national leader in multidisciplinary transportation research. Its talented staff publish their findings in leading research journals, help agencies around the country implement their recommendations, develop new training courses, present their work at prestigious conferences, and even host conferences. The Center’s unparalleled ability to develop and perform applied research and to communicate findings has meant that a wide range of stakeholders — including the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet,  Federal Highway Administration, and a number of  government agencies and transportation organizations — have benefitted from KTC’s work. Keep tuned to this page for the latest research findings and reports, details of projects that are in progress, accolades, and more.

Shirley Cummins, David Houchin, and Bob Lewis Inducted into Kentucky Transportation Hall of Fame 

KTC Director Doug Kreis announced the 2022 inductees at the KBT Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on January 20, 2022. To learn more about the inductees’ achievements, visit KTC’s Transportation Hall of Fame page.


Staff News and Accolades

  • Dr. Issam Harik, professor of Civil Engineering, is a recipient of a 2021-2022 University Research Professorship Award. He will receive $10,000 to be used to further research, scholarships, or creative endeavors. Click here to learn more about UK’s Research Professorships.
  • Abheetha Peiris and Issam Harik received the prestigious 2019 national American Concrete Institute (ACI) Design Award, which was presented during the ACI Spring 2021 Convention. Drs Harik and Peiris were also featured in an article in the September issue of ASCE Magazine.
  • Joe Crabtree, former KTC Director, received the “Outstanding Service to the ITS Industry” Award at the Annual Meeting of the Intelligent Transportation Society of the Midwest on November 5. The ITS Midwest chapter includes Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.
  • Clark Graves, Associate Director, was selected to serve as the academic representative on the AASHTOWare Pavement ME Technical Review Team.
  • An article by Erin Lammers and William Staats (on orange pavement markings for work zones) was published in the AASHTO Journal.
  • Dr. Tim Taylor was selected to serve on UK’s Area Committee – the top committee to review promotion and tenure cases at the university level.
  • Hala Nassereddine, assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, was selected to receive the Russell J Alessi ELECTRI International 2020 Early Career Award.
  • Of the 19 NCHRP synthesis projects selected to begin this fiscal year, three of them have been awarded to members of our CEPM team:
  1. Gabe Dadi is partnering with EKU and Iowa State on topic 52-09, Use of Safety Management Systems in Managing Highway Maintenance Worker Safety.
  2. Hala Nassereddine is leading Topic 52-14, 3D Digital Models as Highway Construction Contract Documents with Tim, Ryan Griffith, and Gabe as co-PIs.
  3. Hala, Gabe, and Ryan were also selected for Topic 52-19, Technological Capabilities of DOTs for Digital Project Management and Delivery.
  • Jennifer Walton and our ITS team were selected to receive multiple awards from the federal ITD program, CDL program, and Highway Use-Tax Evasion program. KTC’s share of those projects is over $1.3 million.
  • A report authored by six members of our ITS program on the quality of Commercial Driver’s License data was listed in the December 15 TRB newsletter.
  • Martha Horseman was recognized by the APWA for her work on the Professional Development Committee.
  • Our Catstrong product was featured in an international article on Natural Fiber Composities by the JEC Group.
  • Our pavement, materials, Geotech, and infrastructure assessment group got a new toy for their participation in a recent SHRP2 project. It’s a 3D radar system valued at $250K.
  • Kean Ashurst was recently named the chair of the AASHTO NTPEP Thermoplastic Pipe Committee.

New in 2020

KTC  has started featuring select projects in a new format, video! 

Please check out our new video content on our new YouTube channel.


Emergency Repair of the Brent Spence Bridge

On the early morning of Wednesday November 11, 2020, a truck jackknifed on the northbound lower deck of the I-75 Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River between Covington, KY and Cincinnati, OH. A second truck carrying potassium hydroxide collided with first truck, resulting in a chemical/hydrocarbon fire that took firefighters several hours to extinguish. The doubledecker bridge forms a vital link between Kentucky and Ohio, and carries Interstates 75 and 71 over the Ohio River. For three days, the bridge steel was too hot to be immediately inspected.

As crash cleanup was completed, a team of about 20 engineers and inspectors, including KTC researchers, began to assess the damage and test the sections of steel and concrete. The intense fire seriously damaged the floor system of the upper deck along several panels, including the floor beams and concrete deck stringers. The upper deck had heaved up several inches and damaged the upper deck finger dam. The fire also consumed the paint on the upper deck floor system along floor beams, verticals and diagonals. While extinguishing the fire, firefighters doused the structural steel to keep it from becoming too hot. KYTC officials were concerned this caused some of the bridge steel to become brittle.

The other metallurgical concern was softening of the steel members after prolonged exposure to high heat. KTC performed the testing necessary to characterize the condition of the steel, ground-penetrating radar, sample extraction by coring, in-situ chemistry and hardness testing, through-thickness hardness testing, and tensile testing. The KTC team also helped manage all the necessary metallurgical consulting work. The fast diagnosis enabled KYTC to award a contract for the repair — only five days after the crash occurred. Crews quickly replaced several steel beams, repaired the upper and lower decks, and installed a drainage system and new overhead lights. The bridge was reopened to traffic by December 22, one day earlier than projected.

Snow and Ice Removal Route Optimization in Kentucky

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spends $40-80 million per year on snow and ice removal and road treatment. Existing snowplow routes are county-based, and each county has a designated amount of trucks and facilities available. KTC’s goal was to analyze the routes in the snow and ice clearance program (SNIC) and improve mobility and safety during salt delivery. While high traffic routes will always receive the highest priority, optimizing the routing system can improve efficiency, increase safety, and reduce the amount of time and funding needed to treat roadways during winter storms. KTC researchers used GIS-based tools to identify routing for trucks and show where more or fewer trucks were needed. The data gathered from ESRI’s Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) took important factors into consideration such as salt capacity, salt facility location, truck type, and road width, as well as input from local drivers. The analysis was based on a typical winter storm of one inch of snowfall. The route tree concept structures each removal route around a central high priority road and allows truck drivers to become familiar with the roads on their route. As a result, drivers react better to a non-typical winter storm and they understand the safest and most effective way to treat the roads, treat all routes on schedule, and use fewer trucks in the process.

KTC developed optimized routings for four counties located in two of the state’s highway districts, which resulted in eliminating several contract trucks. Since each contract truck costs $25, 000 per year, those four counties will see large reductions in operating costs. KYTC can apply this model in other counties to optimize further cost savings across the state. Preliminary results show that county-level route optimizations can further improve by allowing trucks to cross county lines. More improvements to the optimization could be realized by moving the salt and brine facility to a more centralized location. Implementation will be tested during the next winter season, with the expectation that county-level route optimizations will continue to have a positive effect on cost savings and efficiency.

This project was selected by the AASHTO Region 2 states as one of four High Value Research projects for that region, and it will be included in the Sweet 16 projects highlighted at the summer meeting of the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee and at the 2019 TRB Annual Meeting. To view the full report, click Here

KTC Talks to Calvin Grayson

Joe, Doug, and Clark had the opportunity to sit down and discuss transportation with Calvin Grayson, former Secretary of Transportation and former director of KTC. The marketing team of Paul, Michael, and Robin captured the day with film and photos, creating a timeless collection of wisdom and memories from a legend who has seen everything happen in transportation. Mr. Grayson kept the room captivated as he recalled how he was talked into his first job at the Highway Department, was introduced to the first computer in 1956, witnessed the construction of Mountain Parkway, and described his involvement after the Kentucky Transportation Research Program merged with KTC to form the Center as it is known today.

Mr. Grayson’s passion for transportation was apparent and reflected in his praise for KTC and in his nuggets of wisdom. He believes that planning should always be that essential first step and that KTC can never do enough marketing. We are living up to his vision of functioning as a multidisciplinary team and being the place to develop solutions to Kentucky’s critical transportation issues. He says, “I saw the Center as a catalyst for public and private stakeholders to come to consensus about transportation problems.” Mr. Grayson also believes that transportation, mobility, and accessibility are intertwined. Click Here for the full story