Jun 25, 2015
Summer Transportation Institute
CESTiCC, the Alaska Tribal Technical Assistance Program Center and the Alaska Local Technical Assistance Program Center hosted a Summer Transportation Institute on June 8-12, 2015, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. This five-day training workshop attracted more than 30 participants from various communities, representing federal highway administration (FHWA), state transportation agency, local village council, tribal council, and universities. Lectures, lab tours and field trips with various topics on transportation infrastructure in a rural and cold environment were provided free of charge to participants.
On behalf of CESTiCC, Dr. Jenny Liu gave a brief opening remark on June 8th. It was a great opportunity to promote transportation issues for environmental sustainability to tribes and rural communities.
On June 8th attendees were exposed to tribal transportation through several lectures. Mr. Kyle Kitchel from FHWA introduced the history of modern road building on tribal lands. Professor Byron Bluehorse, director of Alaska Tribal Technical Assistance Program Center, spoke on federal government departmental structure of tribal transportation programs. Lastly, Professor Kevin Illingworth from UAF shared about tribal sovereignty in Alaska.
CESTiCC researchers lectured on other rural transportation topics throughout the week. Dr. Xiong Zhang’s three-hour lecture on Soil Basics covered a wide range of themes including soil mechanics, soil classification and dehydration of road embankments, etc. Participants also showed great interests in Dr. Zhang’s presentations of several research projects on innovative materials and design to mitigate permafrost heave.
Dr. Jenny Liu and Mr. Robert McHattie shared their experience and findings from several completed projects on Pavement Preservation treatments in Alaska and other cold regions on Wednesday. Other lectures including Gravel Road Design by Mr. McHattie and Dust Control Practice by Dr. David Barnes addressed very typical transportation issues in rural areas of Alaska, as Alaskan transportation system that contains long-distance unpaved roads.
One eyewitness is better than ten hearsays. Participants were provided with opportunities to join several guided field trips. The first stop was the permafrost tunnel situated near the valley floor of Goldstream Creek, 16 miles north of Fairbanks in Fox, Alaska. This tunnel was excavated from 1963–1969 for the study of permafrost, geology, ice science, and the mining and construction techniques specific to permafrost environments. It offers a unique research platform for scientists and engineers who wish to study a frozen environment over 40,000 years old.
Beyond his lecture presentations, Mr. McHattie also served as the guide for the off-site field visit to various road spots around Fairbanks. The purpose of the trip was to offer participants hands-on experience of surveying roadway conditions and evaluating effectiveness of maintenance and preservation treatments in the field.
CESTiCC faculty and students gave a tour of civil engineering labs at UAF. Attendees were able to visit asphalt, concrete, soil, structural, geotechnical and environmental labs. We appreciate Dr. Jenny Liu, Dr. Sheng Zhao, Dr. David Barnes, Mr. Billy Connor, Dr. Lin Li, and graduate students Chuang Lin and Beaux Kemp for introducing testing equipment and procedures, conducting experiment demonstrations, and sharing their experience to simulate real field situation through lab practices.