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Title:Design of Living Barriers to Reduce the Impacts of Snowdrifts on Illinois Freeways
Author(s):Petrie, John; Qi, Yan; Cornwell, Mark; Al Adib Sarker, Md; Biswas, Pranesh; Du, Sen; Shi, Xianming
Subject(s):Living Snow Fence
Snow Fences
Snow and Ice Control
Computational Fluid Dynamics
Transportation Operations
Winter Maintenance
Snow Mechanics
Abstract:Blowing snow accounts for a large part of Illinois Department of Transportation’s total winter maintenance expenditures. This project aims to develop recommendations on the design and placement of living snow fences (LSFs) to minimize snowdrift on Illinois highways. The research team examined historical IDOT data for resource expenditures, conducted a literature review and survey of northern agencies, developed and validated a numerical model, field tested selected LSFs, and used a model to assist LSF design. Field testing revealed that the proper snow fence setback distance should consider the local prevailing winter weather conditions, and snow fences within the right-of-way could still be beneficial to agencies. A series of numerical simulations of flow around porous fences were performed using Flow-3D, a computational fluid dynamics software. The results of the simulations of the validated model were employed to develop design guidelines for siting LSFs on flat terrain and for those with mild slopes (< 15° from horizontal). Guidance is provided for determining fence setback, wind characteristics, fence orientation, as well as fence height and porosity. Fences comprised of multiple rows are also addressed. For sites with embankments with steeper slopes, guidelines are provided that include a fence at the base and one or more fence on the embankment. The design procedure can use the available right-of-way at a site to determine the appropriate fence characteristics (e.g., height and porosity) to prevent snow deposition on the road. The procedure developed in this work provides an alternative that uses available setback to design the fence. This approach does not consider snow transport over an entire season and may be less effective in years with several large snowfall events, very large single events, or a sequence of small events with little snowmelt in between. However, this procedure is expected to be effective for more frequent snowfall events such as those that occurred over the field-monitoring period. Recommendations were made to facilitate the implementation of research results by IDOT. The recommendations include a proposed process flow for establishing LSFs for Illinois highways, LSF siting and design guidelines (along with a list of suitable plant species for LSFs), as well as other implementation considerations and identified research needs.
Issue Date:2020-11
Publisher:Illinois Center for Transportation/Illinois Department of Transportation
Citation Info:Petrie, John, Yan Qi, Mark Cornwell, Md Al Adib Sarker, Pranesh Biswas, Sen Du, and Xianming Shi. 2020. Design of Living Barriers to Reduce the Impacts of Snowdrifts on Illinois Freeways. A report of the findings of ICT-R27-164. Illinois Center for Transportation Series No. 20-019. Research Report No. FHWA-ICT-20-012. Illinois Center for Transportation, Rantoul, IL.
Genre:Technical Report
Rights Information:No restrictions. This document is available through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-11-04

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