Illinois Certification and Research Track (ICART)

CATEGORY: Special Projects


ENTERING FIRM: Quigg Engineering Inc. and Applied Research Associates, Inc.


OTHER CONSULTANTS: IDOT District 8, Baxmeyer Construction


OWNER: IDOT Central Bureau of Research


DESCRIPTION: The project team consisted of consultants Quigg Engineering Inc. (QEI) and Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) working alongside IDOT Central Bureau of Research in conjunction with IDOT District 8 Studies& Plans staff to bring this project to life. QEI was responsible as the lead design firm for the Phase I planning documents & reports in addition to the Phase II design documents to be issued for construction. ARA assisted with research functions related to layout of the track lanes, providing pavement design recommendations, and other materials related special provisions. The project was motivated by IDOT’s need to replace their existing certification track which had reached the end of its useful life. Rather than identify another existing stretch of road that would require traffic control or other safety related impacts, IDOT wanted to build an entirely brand-new standalone facility to not only provide the certification requirements needed but also allow for continued research that could be conducted at a facility of this type. A location was selected within the state of Illinois where existing ROW owned by IDOT could be utilized to construct the facility without additional land acquisition. The project design began in May of 2020 with initial site clearances and other Phase I planning documents and reports completed shortly after, including a location drainage study for the extension of an 8’x5’ box culvert. Once the clearances were complete the project team proceeded with the Phase II design plans which were completed and submitted to IDOT in March of 2021. Therefore, all the planning and design tasks for the project site were completed in a short 10-month period. Construction was completed in late 2022 and was opened shortly thereafter in the spring of 2023to provide certification for the construction season to all Illinois contractors and IDOT Districts. The certification track consists of three 12’ wide lanes 3,960’ in length; each of the three lanes is a different pavement type (Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement, Jointed Plain Concrete Pavement, and HotMix Asphalt Pavement). At the end of each track, the pavement section thins to a 6’x6’x6” undoweled jointed concrete pavement to support testing devices turning around. Additionally, there are 21 unique segments of pavement surface characteristics over the entirety of the track to provide the maximum research and testing options into the future. There are only a handful of facilities like this in the world and the facility will promote IDOT as a global leader in the research and certification for automated data collection equipment for roadway pavements. Several states have already secured the ICART to serve as their certification and calibration facility for their quality assurance testing devices. The project team is confident that ICART is a worthy recipient of an Engineering Excellence Award. The project is a significant facility for IDOT to the furthering of the field of engineering and has the potential to have a lasting impact on society.