An East Carolina University construction management professor and a local construction company have teamed up in search of a solution to a problem facing the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

The NCDOT’s State Transportation Improvement Plan identifies approximately 100 bridges and more than 700 miles of roadways in eastern North Carolina’s 28 counties that need to be rebuilt within the next 10 years.

“That means a lot of concrete will be used,” said Dr. George Wang. “And this area has a lack of quality aggregate, the crushed stone used for infrastructure.”

Concrete is a composite material — a mixture of fine and coarse aggregate bonded with cement. In some cases, he said, contractors drive to quarries 100 miles west to get the material they need. That means time, fuel, emissions, and wear and tear on vehicles and roadways, so the NCDOT was interested in researching alternative formulations for concrete that would be more sustainable.

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Originally published March 4, 2019.