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Effect of Tree Shade on State Highway 34 Winter Maintenance Operations

Status:  Active
Project Start Date:  03/20/2023


Reducing the amount of road salt application, while maintaining safe driving conditions during winter months has been an important priority for northern states experiencing harsh winter condition. One method to reduce this amount is to allow maximum sun exposure of the roadway. However, sun exposure can be significantly reduced in wooded areas, due to tree shading from evergreens in close proximity to the pavement surface. While tree cutting can eliminate this problem, it can also result in excessive tree cutting without a significant increase in benefits from solar radiation. A more rigorous analysis and quantification of the effect of tree shade on pavement temperatures in winter, based on field data and heat transfer modelling, can provide optimal solutions for obtaining significant solar exposure with minimal tree cutting.

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