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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-088
Date: May 2003

Evaluation of Joint and Crack Load Transfer Final Report

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The load transfer efficiency (LTE) of cracks and joints profoundly affects the performance of concrete pavements. Poor LTE may lead to longitudinal cracking and excessive faulting of jointed concrete pavements (JCP) and could accelerate punchout development in continuously reinforced concrete pavements (CRCP). These distresses could lead to roughness and poor ride quality. Conversely, joints and tightly closed transverse cracks with high LTE do not typically cause any pavement serviceability problems.

As part of the ongoing Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program, deflection measurements are being taken with the falling weight deflectometer (FWD) on all general pavement studies (GPS) and specific pavement studies (SPS) test sections. This deflection testing program is being conducted periodically to obtain the load-response characteristics of the pavement structures at critical points in time, depending on the experiment. These data are intended to provide pavement structural characteristic data that are needed to achieve the goals of LTPP program. Many State highway agencies also are collecting deflection data on their pavement systems for management, project rehabilitation, and forensic studies, and they consider deflection data to be as important as pavement condition and distress data.

Deflections, temperature, and joint opening size are all measured at joints/cracks. The data collected include the following:

Research Objectives

The primary objectives of this study are to compute:

The computed parameters will then become a part of the LTPP database for use in future studies.

Secondary objectives of this proposed study are as follows:

Scope of Work

The scope of this LTE analysis study for LTPP rigid pavement sections includes the following:

Report Organization

This report documents the research effort and findings of the LTPP rigid pavement joint parameters such as LTE, stiffness, and variation in opening. This chapter presents background information. Chapter 2 provides details on the selection of the methodology for calculation of LTE and stiffness of joints and cracks. Chapter 3 presents the results of the assessment of FWD deflection data used in joint LTE calculation and describes the procedure used to determine representative LTE parameters. Chapter 4 presents results of the analysis for GPS and SPS test sections. Chapter 5 presents results of the LTE analysis for SMP test sections. Chapter 6 presents the methodology and results of the analysis of joint stiffnesses. Chapter 7 presents the methodology and results of the analysis of changes in joint opening. A summary and list of recommendations are presented in chapter 8.

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with field offices across the United States. is a major agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with field offices across the United States. is a major agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Provide leadership and technology for the delivery of long life pavements that meet our customers needs and are safe, cost effective, and can be effectively maintained. Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) R&T Web site portal, which provides access to or information about the Agency’s R&T program, projects, partnerships, publications, and results.
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