New Mexico State University received a five-year grant and nearly $2.5 million for the 2017 fiscal year from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers (UTCs) program to establish a regional transportation research center, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports. The university’s Civil Engineering Department is a member of the Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET) led by Louisiana State University (LSU), which focuses on improving transportation infrastructure through innovative materials and technology.
“This is a great opportunity for NMSU,” Craig Newtson, NMSU’s civil engineering professor and principal investigator who will represent the university on Tran-SET’s leadership team, told the news agency. “It’s prestigious funding and it’s great to have it come in. This is the first time we’ve had UTC funding for quite some time. It’s good to get back into that group.”
According to Newtson, the center will fund and conduct research focused on extending the life of transportation infrastructure, preserving the environment, and preserving the existing transportation system.
“Researchers at NMSU will also be active in research projects most likely related to concrete materials, durability and geo-technical engineering,” Newtson added, according to the news agency. “From my work, the focus is on improving durability of civil engineering or transportation infrastructure, pavement, bridges and things along that line.”
The Tran-SET consortium also includes Arkansas State University, Baton Rouge Community College, Navajo Technical University, Oklahoma State University, Prairie View A&M University, Texas A&M University, University of New Mexico, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas at San Antonio, and the region covers Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.