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Tools for using precast concrete pavement (PCP) systems to reduce the duration of construction closures on critical roadways and to provide long-life performance.

Precast Concrete Pavement (R05)

Challenge

Over the past 10 years, many transportation agencies have recognized the benefits of using precast concrete pavement systems to speed reconstruction on critical roadways. PCP systems can be installed quickly, and roadway sections immediately reopened, minimizing disruption. However, because the technology is relatively new, information on PCP best practices and performance has not been well documented. Further, because many PCP systems are proprietary, some practitioners have found them difficult to specify.

Solution

To fill the knowledge gap that has prevented PCP from being used more widely, SHRP2 developed guidelines and tools for agencies to use in the selection, design, construction, installation, and maintenance of PCP systems, and offers tools to develop a cost-benefit assessment.

SHRP2 investigated 16 PCP projects at locations with a wide range of climates (from Michigan to Texas) and assessed how the PCP systems were used (on ramps, toll plazas, at-grade roadways, and airports). Field surveys included short, intermittent repairs as well as longer, continuous applications. The research found that modular pavement technology is still evolving, but that over the 10 years it has been used, well-designed and well-constructed PCP systems can provide high-quality, long-term service and are often a good choice for rapid repair and rehabilitation of existing pavements. The SHRP2 PCP solution offers a series of guidelines and model specifications to help agencies effectively select projects for PCP, and to design, fabricate, and install long-life jointed and prestressed PCP systems.

Benefits

PCP systems are comprised of high-quality, prefabricated concrete panels that are formed offsite and installed during off-peak travel times. The versatile approach can be used for rehabilitation of roadways, toll plazas, ramps,intersections, bridge approach slabs, and tunnels, in addition to new roadway construction. Cast in plants under ideal conditions, precast panels are subjected to high quality control standards during the fabrication process, which results in a durable and ready-for-traffic road surface. The required smoothness typically is achieved by routine grinding of the panels soon after placement.

Coupled with the fact that the cost of PCP panels has dropped significantly in the past decade, PCP offers transportation agencies significant short- and long-term advantages, such as:

  • Shorter installation time
  • Reduced construction-related closures, and therefore reduced exposure of workers and drivers to work zone hazards
  • Pavement is ready for traffic upon installation—no curing time
  • Slabs are cast in plants under ideal conditions for optimum quality and durability
  • Installation can take place at night or under adverse weather conditions, extending the construction season
  • Longer-life performance than traditional cast-in-place (CIP) solutions

In the Field

State Project Description Activity Contact
California Using precast concrete pavement Research Mehdi Parvini
California DOT
mehdi.parvini@dot.ca.gov
Delaware Using precast concrete pavement Research Jim Pappas
Delaware DOT
james.pappas@state.de.us
Hawaii Implementation Assistance Program – The Hawaii Department of Transportation is utilizing technical assistance from FHWA and will use the funding assistance to offset construction costs of a precast concrete inlay on an existing asphalt pavement on I-H1 in Honolulu. Lead Adopter Sam Tyson
FHWA
sam.tyson@dot.gov
Illinois Using precast concrete pavement Research Steven L. Gillen
Illinois Tollway
sgillen@getipass.com
Illinois Implementation Assistance Program – The Illinois Tollway is utilizing technical assistance from FHWA and will use the funding assistance to offset construction costs to replace bridge approaches on I-294 near Chicago. Lead Adopter Dan Gancarz
Illinois Tollway
dgancarz@getipass.com
Kansas Implementation Assistance Program – The Kansas Department of Transportation is utilizing technical assistance from FHWA and will use the funding assistance to offset construction costs of precast concrete to replace an intersection on US-73 providing access to Ft. Leavenworth. Lead Adopter Sam Tyson
FHWA
sam.tyson@dot.gov
Minnesota Using precast concrete pavement Research Tom Burnham
Minnesota DOT
tom.burnham@state.mn.us
Missouri Using precast concrete pavement Research John Donahue
Missouri DOT
john.donahue@modot.mo.gov
Texas Implementation Assistance Program – The Texas Department of Transportation is utilizing technical assistance to replace the intersection of FM97 & 72 in the “energy sector” south of San Antonio. Lead Adopter Andy Naranjo
Texas Department of Transportation
andy.naranjo@txdot.gov
Wisconsin Implementation Assistance Program – The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is utilizing technical assistance from FHWA and will use the funding assistance to offset construction costs of precast concrete for full-depth repairs on the Beltline Highway around Madison. Lead Adopter David Layton
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
david.layton@dot.wi.gov

Field activities also performed in Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Virginia during the research phase.

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