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UT Tyler Professor Awarded TxDOT Grant

November 17, 2022

Mena Souliman, PhD, associate professor and the Ronald D. Brazzel Endowed Professor of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at Tyler, has received a nearly $600,000 Texas Department of Transportation grant to enhance the asphalt currently being used in highway/road resurfacing projects for improved wet-weather driving.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute will work with Souliman on the three-year project. Souliman and his collaborators will examine the current highway/road construction processes in the hopes to decrease crashes on wet resurfaced pavements. The 2021 “Weather Conditions for Crashes” report from TxDOT found that “rain” was the most repeated weather condition behind “clear/cloudy” in all reported crashes.

“The current design methodology for asphalt and seal coat surfaces is limited when considering safety aspects like friction and surface texture, also known as skid resistance,” said Souliman. “Our goal is to develop a laboratory-based, friction prediction system to select the pavement surface type and coarse aggregate types that will provide adequate skid resistance over the life of the pavement surface.”

Groups that will provide input for implementation of these research results will be selected from the Federal Highway Administration, Texas Asphalt Pavement Association and various material producer and construction associations, Souliman added.

“Investigation of better ways to mitigate automobile accidents is clearly important to society and is addressed by this project,” said Steven Idell, MD, PhD, UT Tyler senior vice president for research. “This award is yet another strong testament to the very high quality of work being done by Dr. Souliman and his collaborators in the area.”

Souliman studies pavement materials design, fatigue endurance limit of asphalt mixtures, field performance evaluation, maintenance and rehabilitation techniques and pavement management systems in the construction of roads and highways.

The professor joined the UT Tyler College of Engineering faculty in 2014. He holds a Master of Science and Ph.D. in civil, environmental and sustainable engineering from Arizona State University. He also directs the UT Tyler Texas Rural Transportation Research Center.

His participation in local, state and national projects includes work with the city of Tyler and the U.S. Department of Transportation. He has authored over 100 technical publications, conference papers and reports in the field of pavement and aggregate testing, characterization and field monitoring.

With a mission to improve educational and healthcare outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT Tyler offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs to 10,000 students. UT Tyler recently merged with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (now known as UT Tyler Health Science Center). Through its alignment with UT Tyler Health Science Center (HSC) and UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has unified these entities to serve Texas with quality education, cutting-edge research and excellent patient care. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.

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