‘Sustainability’ Drives Student Interest in Pavement Preservation

Pavement Preservation Journal
Winter 2016, Vol. 9, No. 4

Editor’s Note: Under the direction of Andrew Braham, P.E., the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville actively promotes pavement preservation as a course of study to engineering students. These students bring a different perspective of why a young civil engineer would pursue preservation study. This is the first in a series of occasional profiles of students in pavement preservation there, this issue focusing on Sadie E. Smith, graduate research assistant.

Sadie E. Smith: As I was entering college, “sustainability” was becoming a huge buzzword, and the source of much discussion regarding the future of design. The heavy emphasis was being placed on not only creating structures that would meet the needs of its users, but could also be more economically and environmentally viable. This made so much sense to me.

On top of all this, I saw the potential for my designs to potentially increase the quality of life of others, both now and in the future, and that adds so much value to what we do.  Additionally, the materials side of civil engineering has always been one that has interested me, and pavement preservation falls right in line with both of these interests.

Transportation is essential to the lives of people all over the world, but building and maintaining transportation networks is very expensive. There is so much existing infrastructure already in place, and it’s very inefficient for us to not continue building on this foundation by preserving and extending the life of these structures whenever possible.

With pavements, there is so much potential for preservation techniques, such as fog seals, chip seals, and slurry seals, to be very useful, cost effective, and environmentally friendly tools for agencies maintaining existing infrastructure. So it’s exciting to get to really dig into some of the questions that are still unanswered for these benefits to be fully realized.

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