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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Evaluation of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Pipe
Project Researcher: Daris Ormesher, SDDOT
Project Manager: Dave Huft
Research Period: 4/1/2000 - 4/30/2003
Status: Approved
Cost: $45,000.00

Problem Statement: The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) currently has only two locations where HDPE pipe is used under a state highway. The SDDOT allows HDPE pipe to be installed as culvert drains in crossovers, field entrances and approaches. The SDDOT needs to install and monitor additional HDPE pipe test sections to see if HDPE pipe is an acceptable alternative in mainline applications. Allowing HDPE pipe to be used as an alternative might lower the bid price of other pipe alternatives. The initial and life cycle cost of HDPE pipe in mainline applications needs to be evaluated.

The SDDOT completed a research project SD96-11 Evaluation of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Pipe in 1998. This project did not evaluate embankment sites. Some contractors do not have the necessary equipment to install pipe in a trench site. Contractors often install pipe in an embankment installation; therefore, research is needed to evaluate the installation of HDPE pipe in both an embankment installation and a trench installation. This evaluation is designed in part to ensure that the needs of both the contractor and the SDDOT are satisfied. Recommendations from SD96-11 indicated a need to install and evaluate HDPE pipe in various soil types. The SDDOT needs to have an efficient way to evaluate the performance of HDPE pipe.


Research Objectives:
1  Determine the suitability of HDPE pipe in mainline applications.
2  Determine the acceptability of HDPE pipe by both the contractors and highway departments that are responsible for maintenance of the highway.
3  Determine both the initial cost and life cycle costs of using HDPE pipe.

Research Tasks:
1  Meet with the technical panel to review the project scope and work plan.
2  Perform a literature search on HDPE pipe. Contact other state DOTs, contractors, and highway departments on their use and experience with HDPE pipe.
3  Identify possible sites (one in each of the four regions) for installing 24-inch through 36-inch diameter HDPE pipe
4  Recommend appropriate specifications for installation and evaluation of HDPE pipe.
5  Meet with the technical panel to review installation and evaluation plans.
6  Monitor the installation of the HDPE pipe in each region.
7  Meet with the technical panel to review results from the HDPE installation and the results of the initial evaluation.
8  Determine an initial cost of the HDPE pipe installation and estimate life-cycle costs of using HDPE pipe. Compare these costs to those of other pipe alternatives.
9  Evaluate the HDPE pipe through two freeze-thaw periods.
10  Recommend a method to evaluate the long-term performance of HDPE pipe.
11  Recommend appropriate changes to the SDDOT "Standard Specifications for Road and Bridges" for the installation and evaluation procedures for HDPE pipe.
12  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the literature review, research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
13  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

Documents Available:

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