Editorials

Put a pin in Texas’ infrastructure troubles

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

A large tarp covers an eroded area on the dry side of the Lake Grapevine dam, Tuesday, March 29, 2016.
A large tarp covers an eroded area on the dry side of the Lake Grapevine dam, Tuesday, March 29, 2016. rmallison@star-telegram.com

We already have to deal with construction, distracted drivers, weather, road damage and accidents while driving down a Texas road. We don’t even consider the potential dangers of the soil holding it up.

Texas infrastructure is on unstable ground. The soil shrinks and expands depending on moisture, which can crack even the best-built road over time. The soil could also start eroding, causing the entire street to slope.

The Texas Department of Transportation will spend about $8.9 billion on maintaining the highway system in 2016-17.

One University of Texas at Arlington professor found a way to trim down that cost.

Civil engineering professor Sahadat Hossain and his team have been using plastic pins to combat the eventual sifting of soil since 2011. In places with pins, the slope only moved about 2 inches. In areas without pins, the slope moved anywhere from 9 to 15 inches.

Soil treatment with pins cost only about $100,000 and could be a long-term fix for infrastructure woes.

We need more solutions like this.

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