New Products Evaluation and Research
PennDOT has an ongoing interest in the implementation of new materials, products, and processes for highway construction and maintenance. New technologies submitted by manufactures are evaluated to confirm the expected performance and cost effectiveness.
For state-owned roads, PennDOT receives applications from manufactures who have new products they feel would benefit the Department's highway construction and maintenance programs. The New Product Evaluation Tracking System (NPETS) allows users to submit product evaluation applications, track the progress of their submitted applications, and communicate electronically with PennDOT.
PennDOT also manages a New Product Evaluation Program for Lower Volume Local Roads.
Manufacturers submit a Product Evaluation Application which is used to determine whether a product meets an existing specification, standard drawing, or standard special provision. Product applications are assigned an Evaluation Number when entered into NPETS.
If the product meets an existing PennDOT specification, standard drawing, or standard special provision, it is tested against that specification.
If the product does not meet an existing PennDOT specification, standard drawing, or standard special provision, the Department determines if there is any interest in the product and performs a risk assessment. If no interest is shown, the product is rejected. The assessment determines if a product is a low or a high-risk item based on health/safety concerns, repair/replacement costs and warranties. Product approval by other states or agencies is taken into consideration. At this point, the product can be rejected, considered for further investigation, or provisionally approved based on a low risk assessment.
High-risk products that need further investigation are placed in construction projects. A work plan is prepared to outline the required monitoring, testing and documentation during the evaluation period. The placement of the product is documented in a construction report. Long term performance and durability are monitored over an evaluation period and documented in a final report. The results of the research project are used as part of the product evaluation to determine approval or rejection of the product based on performance.
When assessment and research show that the product should perform as expected and final approval is imminent, a provisional specification is drafted to cover the use of the product by the Department until a permanent specification is written and approved.