At UTA, a school comprised of 85 percent commuter students, according to UTA’s website, some researchers are saying highway safety and efficiency is no less than vital.

Sahadat Hossain, civil engineering assistant professor, and his team at UTA have been working on a project for the last four years, which involves NorthTexas highways, like Texas Highway 287, and large, recycled plastic pins.

“These pins are like huge rectangular prisms. They are 10-feet long, and we inject them into the sides of highways to prevent slope failure,” Hossain said.

Slope failure occurs when highways, built above the ground, called embankment highways, fluctuate during harsh weather. The rainwater can seep into thick cracks in the Texas soil, often widening the cracks, and causing bumpy, uneven roads, Hossain said.

“When you make the road above the surface, there are two sides that are sloping down,” said Ashfaq Adnan, aerospace and mechanical engineering assistant professor, who also worked on the project. “These pins just lock the slippery soil into place. They act as a resisting force against the clay soil.”

Aside from working toward making highways safer, this project slowly is decreasing landfill space in North Texas, which makes it an environmentally friendly option.

“One 10-foot pin, with 4-by-4 dimensions, uses 500 recycled plastic water bottles. In the past four years, we’ve used over 300,000 water bottles for this project,” said Sadik Khan, a civil engineering doctoral student.

“Aside from being good for the environment, this is good for your bank. Taxpayers pay 50 percent less with this solution as opposed to using another alternative,” Khan said.

“The generation of utilizing solid waste is up and coming and very vital,” said Golam Kibria, a doctoral student working on this project.

“Solid waste is converted and is being used which is so helpful. The impact is also very significant,” he said. “By using recycled plastic, we can maintain a green environment while benefitting from it.”

Hossain raved about the project, saying that since they first started working on it four years ago, they only found benefit.

“If you observe the cracks in the soil in a place where the pins have not been installed, you can see the gaps between the road and the soil sometimes measuring to even six inches,” he said. “After installing these pins, the gaps are usually an inch or so at most. This shows that this solution is effective. It’s cheap, safe for the environment, and safer for our drivers.”

Biology senior Dallah Abdallahi says her highway safety during her commute from the Keller to Fort Worth border is vital to her education.

“My commute is an hour long, with traffic. A safe highway experience is extremely important,” she said. “If I’m not on time to my 8 a.m. class, it affects my grades and performance.”


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