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(February 4, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) will begin work next week on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway (I-495) to perform  an innovative technique that applies a friction surface treatment to the roadway aimed at reducing tractor trailer crashes.

This technique involves propelling steel spheres directly at the pavement surface at a high velocity. The impact of the spheres creates a random surface texture that enhances friction and surface drainage. These treatments makes it easier for vehicles to stop and reduces the likelihood of hydroplaning. In a research study, MDOT observed friction and drainage improvements of about 70%.

“This project will improve the roadway surface as one strategy to reduce crashes on the Capital Beltway,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith. “This engineering solution will make the roadway safer, especially when coupled with motorists being cautious and obeying posted speed limits.”

Work will begin Monday, February 8, with nightly lane closures on the Outer Loop between MD 191 and MD 185 (Connecticut Avenue) beginning at 7 p.m. and ending by 5 a.m. the following morning. The work is expected to be completed by mid-February, weather permitting.

Crews will close one lane at 7 p.m., then two lanes at 8 p.m., every day of the week. About 30 lane miles overall will be treated as part of this $460,000 project performed by contractor Skidabrader of San Diego, California. The contractor is one of a few in the United States that performs this technique.

MDOT SHA works to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones for our crews and our customers. Drivers are reminded to stay alert, focus on driving, and look for reduced speed limits, as well as other driving pattern changes.

Here the News Story from WUSA9 local station A blast of steel balls could fix the Beltway's 'Big Curve' |


In December of 2019 Skidabrader had the opportunity to texture 8 sections of the National Center for Asphalt Technology Test Track (NCAT). The NCAT Test Track is a full-scale accelerated performance testing facility located in Auburn, Alabama. Forty-six asphalt test sections with a typical length of 61-meters are built around the 2.7-kilometer oval. Five trucks each pulling three heavily loaded trailers run approximately 400 laps around the track each day per day. These trucks accelerated wear and pavement distress. The NCAT team periodically tests the pavement performance and records data points to help better the performance of the surface in the real world.


A common issue agencies are faced with within their roadway network is maintaining adequate surface friction characteristics of pavement. The main attributor to frictional properties of a pavement surface is the quality of aggregate used in the pavement. In areas where less than desirable aggregates are available it can be costly to the agency to use higher quality aggregates. So these agencies are faced with a bit of a balancing act with pavement mix designs specifying the right percentage of lower and higher quality aggregates to yield the best results from a frictional and cost stand point. This study focuses on pavement surfaces which have a higher percentage of lower quality aggregates and the utilization of The Skidabrader Texturing process to restore the frictional properties of these pavements.  Read the report here.

Kentucky DOT I-71/75
Unusual machine tapped for unusual fix on dangerous section of roadway

In November of 2019, Skidabrader was called in by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on an emergency contract to abrade a section of I-75 just south of Cincinnati, Ohio. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet had declared a state of emergency for this section of roadway. The section was down a steep grade which leads into a curve. This curve was the site of many hydroplaning accidents primarily with Commercial Trucks that were hitting the inside barrier wall sending large pieces of concrete into the opposing lane. At the time of our arrival the Department had shut the inside lane down and added another layer of temporary barrier in the lane to keep trucks from going into oncoming traffic. The concrete pavement surface had very little texture and with the slightest amount of moisture turned the road into an ice-skating rink. This project was a total of 34,000 Square yards, and was completed in 3 working shifts.

As Skidabrader worked to insure a section of I-75 in Kentucky can once again be deemed safe for drivers an unusual machine with an unusual name was about to begin work unlike anything that has been done on local roads.

The machine is called a Skidabrader, “Skid, so we’re creating skid resistance though an abrasion process; So Skidabrader,” said Skidabrader General Manager Josh Jones.

Engineers determined the section of road going into a turn under Dixie Highway southbound on 71/75 has been worn smooth by traffic.

Fort Mitchell police said they have responded to 19 crashes in the same spot over the past year, including four in the same day. “The road has lost friction and texture, so we’re going to use the Skidabrader and increase that surface friction,” Jones said. The machine shoots tiny steel shot at the road surface like a shotgun, and then collects it all and uses it again. “The machine is going to open that surface up and promote better water drainage from the surface and the tire will actually get more grip on to the surface,” Jones said.

 Read the WLWT5 News Story Here

Read FOX 19 News Story Here


This 21 lane miles of worn asphalt on I-20 in East Texas was textured to restore the wet weather safety needed on the 75 mph highway. Nine months after the Texas Department of Transportation roughened Kilgore’s two-mile stretch of Interstate 20, local officials say the process has clearly saved lives. The Skidabrader process took three days in late January: the improvement was immediate, Sellers said.
“The first major rainstorm following the Skidabrader, we waited, we held our breath waiting for the emergency tone to dispatch our emergency responders to I-20, and it never came. That was when I knew the Skidabrader was a success and I-20 was no longer a threat to our citizens.”


The Kilgore News Herald published a front page article about this and the link to it is below.

View Skidabraded Interstate is Saving Lives PDF

Louisiana Statewide Contract

A statewide contract for Louisiana with the completion of 1,794,662 square yards and 255 lanes completed in 41 working days with two machines.  The large scale project spanned nine parish districts and consisted of all Interstate highways.  Skidabrader textured these roads to lower wet weather accident rates.

Major Aircraft Manufacturer 

A major airport manufacturer in Roswell, New Mexico use this operating airport for braking test.  Skidabrader textured this runway to a targeted skid number that met  the FAA specifications.  Skidabrader completed 145,000 square yards in two days with two machines.

Atchafalaya Basin Ridge

Also Known as the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge, this 18.2 mile long twin span bridge is the second longest in the U.S..  Skidabrader was able to texture the entire lenght with no traffic disruption. 

Completion of 500,684 square yards and 71 lane milesin 12 working days with two machines.

Asphalt Runway

In Hunstville, Alabama Skidabrader restored 190,000 square yards in two days with two machines.  Restoring this airports asphalt runway to safe levels when another vendors surface treatment failed six just month earlier.


Toronto Pearson International 

Skidabrader recently finished resurfacing work at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Lake Pontchatrain Causeway

The Causeway twin span bridge  at over 23 miles long is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world.  The Skidabrader restored its surface to a safe texture and helped complete the project 90 days ahead of schedule.  This project was 782,000 square yards with 111 lane miles and was completed in 25 working days with three machines.

Industry Article

Roswell International Air Center

Skidabrader was priveliged to work with Dennis Corsi, Jennifer Brady, and the rest of the folks at Roswell International Air Center. The versatility of the Skidabrader machinery enabled us to hit the target skid numbers that were required at both 40 and 60 mph.

Read the full story by clicking on the link below

View Roswell International Air Center Friction Treatment PDF

I-40 , Near Wilmington, N. Carolina's Dept. of Transportation

Skidabrader Rejuvenation Boost N.C. Interstate Performance and saves DOT money.

Read Full Article

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