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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-031
Date: JUNE 2003

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Distress Identification Manual for The LTPP (Fourth Revised Edition)

Forward

In 1987, the Strategic Highway Research Program began the largest and most comprehensive pavement performance test in history—the Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program. During the program's 20-year life, highway agencies in the United States and 15 other countries will have collected data on pavement condition, climate, and traffic volumes and loads from more than 1,000 pavement test sections. That information will allow pavement engineers to design better, longer-lasting roads.

This manual was developed to provide a consistent, uniform basis for collecting distress data for the LTPP program.

This manual provides a common language for describing cracks, potholes, rutting, spalling, and other pavement distresses being monitored by the LTPP program.

The manual is divided into three sections, each focusing on a particular type of pavement: (1) asphalt concrete-surfaced, (2) jointed portland cement concrete, and (3) continuously reinforced portland cement concrete. Each distress is clearly labeled, described, and illustrated.

T. Paul Teng, P.E.
Director
Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the object of the document.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
FHWA-RD-03-031
2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Distress Identification Manual for the Long-Term Pavement Performance Program (Fourth Revised Edition)
5. Report Date June 2003
6. Performing Organization
7. Author(s)
John S. Miller and William Y. Bellinger
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296
10. Work Unit No.
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101-2296
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Manual
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
Technical Consultant: Aramis Lopez, HRDI-13

16. Abstract
Accurate, consistent, and repeatable distress evaluation surveys can be performed by using the Distress Identification Manual for the Long-Term Pavement Performance Program. Color photographs and drawings illustrate the distresses found in three basic pavement types; asphalt concrete-surfaced; jointed (plain and reinforced) portland cement concrete; and continuously reinforced concrete. Drawings of the distress types provide a reference to assess their severity. Methods for measuring the size of distresses and for assigning severity levels are given. The manual also describes how to conduct the distress survey, from obtaining traffic control to measuring the cracks in the pavement. Sample forms for recording and reporting the data are included. The manual also tells how to calibrate and operate fault measurement devices.

17. Key Words
Distress, LTPP, pavement, cracking, rutting, faulting
18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22161.
19. Security Classif. (of this report)
Unclassified
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
Unclassified
21. No. of Pages
164
22. Price

 

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors


Contents

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF TABLES

PREFACE

  1. DISTRESSES FOR PAVEMENTS WITH ASPHALT CONCRETE SURFACES
    1. Cracking
      1. Fatigue Cracking
      2. Block Cracking
      3. Edge Cracking
      4. Longitudinal Cracking
      5. Reflection Cracking at Joints
      6. Transverse Cracking
    2. Patching and Potholes
      1. Patch Deterioration
      2. Potholes
    3. Surface Deformation
      1. Rutting
      2. Shoving
    4. Surface Defects
      1. Bleeding
      2. Polished Aggregate
      3. Raveling
    5. Miscellaneous Distresses
      1. Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff
      2. Water Bleeding and Pumping
  2. DISTRESSES FOR PAVEMENTS WITH JOINTED PORTLAND CEMENT CONCRETE SURFACES
    1. Cracking
      1. Corner Breaks
      2. Durability Cracking ("D" Cracking)
      3. Longitudinal Cracking
      4. Transverse Cracking
    2. Joint Deficiencies
      1. Joint Seal Damage
        1. Transverse Joint Seal Damage
        2. Longitudinal Joint Seal Damage
      2. Spalling of Longitudinal Joints
      3. Spalling of Transverse Joints
    3. Surface Defects
      1. Map Cracking and Scaling
        1. Map Cracking
        2. Scaling
      2. Polished Aggregate
      3. Popouts
    4. Miscellaneous Distresses
      1. Blowups
      2. Faulting of Transverse Joints and Cracks
      3. Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff
      4. Lane-to-Shoulder Separation
      5. Patch/Patch Deterioration
      6. Water Bleeding and Pumping
  3. DISTRESSES FOR PAVEMENTS WITH CONTINUOUSLY REINFORCED CONCRETE SURFACES
    1. Cracking
      1. Durability Cracking ("D" Cracking)
      2. Longitudinal Cracking
      3. Transverse Cracking
    2. Surface Defects
      1. Map Cracking and Scaling
        1. Map Cracking
        2. Scaling
      2. Polished Aggregate
      3. Popouts
    3. Miscellaneous Distresses
      1. Blowups
      2. Transverse Construction Joint Deterioration
      3. Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff
      4. Lane-to-Shoulder Separation
      5. Patch/Patch Deterioration
      6. Punchouts
      7. Spalling of Longitudinal Joints
      8. Water Bleeding and Pumping
      9. Longitudinal Joint Seal Damage

     

GLOSSARY

  1. MANUAL FOR DISTRESS SURVEYS
    Blank Distress Map Forms and Data Sheets
  2. MANUAL FOR FAULTMETER MEASUREMENTS
  3. PROFILE MEASUREMENTS USING THE FACE DIPSTICK®

List of Figures

FIGURE 1: Measuring Crack Width in Asphalt Concrete-Surfaced Pavements

FIGURE 2: Effect on Severity Level of Block Cracking due to Associated Random Cracking

FIGURE 3: Distress Type ACP 1—Fatigue Cracking

FIGURE 4: Distress Type ACP 1—Chicken Wire/Alligator Pattern Cracking Typical in Fatigue Cracking

FIGURE 5: Distress Type ACP 1—Low Severity Fatigue Cracking

FIGURE 6: Distress Type ACP 1—Moderate Severity Fatigue Cracking

FIGURE 7: Distress Type ACP 1—High Severity Fatigue Cracking with Spalled Interconnected Cracks

FIGURE 8: Distress Type ACP 2—Block Cracking

FIGURE 9: Distress Type ACP 2—Block Cracking with Fatigue Cracking in the Wheel Paths

FIGURE 10: Distress Type ACP 2—High Severity Block Cracking

FIGURE 11: Distress Type ACP 3—Edge Cracking

FIGURE 12: Distress Type ACP 3—Low Severity Edge Cracking

FIGURE 13: Distress Type ACP 4—Longitudinal Cracking

FIGURE 14: Distress Type ACP 4a—Moderate Severity Longitudinal Cracking in the Wheel Path

FIGURE 15: Distress Type ACP 4b—High Severity Longitudinal Cracking not in the Wheel Path

FIGURE 16: Distress Type ACP 5—Reflection Cracking at Joints

FIGURE 17: Distress Type ACP 5—High Severity Reflection Cracking at Joints

FIGURE 18: Distress Type ACP 6—Transverse Cracking Asphalt Concrete Surfaces

FIGURE 19: Distress Type ACP 6—Low Severity Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 20: Distress Type ACP 6—Moderate Severity Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 21: Distress Type ACP 6—High Severity Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 22: Distress Type ACP 7—Patch/Patch Deterioration

FIGURE 23: Distress Type ACP 7—Low Severity Patch

FIGURE 24: Distress Type ACP 7—Moderate Severity Patch

FIGURE 25: Distress Type ACP 7—High Severity Patch

FIGURE 26: Distress Type ACP 8—Potholes

FIGURE 27: Distress Type ACP 8—Low Severity Pothole

FIGURE 28: Distress Type ACP 8—Moderate Severity Pothole

FIGURE 29: Distress Type ACP 8—Moderate Severity Pothole—Close-up View

FIGURE 30: Distress Type ACP 8—High Severity Pothole—Close-up View

FIGURE 31: Distress Type ACP 9—Rutting

FIGURE 32: Distress Type ACP 9—Rutting

FIGURE 33: Distress Type ACP 9—Standing Water in Ruts

FIGURE 34: Distress Type ACP 10—Shoving

FIGURE 35: Distress Type ACP 10—Shoving in Pavement Surface

FIGURE 36: Distress Type ACP 11—Discoloration

FIGURE 37: Distress Type ACP 11—Loss of Texture

FIGURE 38: Distress Type ACP 11—Aggregate Obscured

FIGURE 39: Distress Type ACP 12—Polished Aggregate

FIGURE 40: Distress Type ACP 13—Loss of Fine Aggregate

FIGURE 41: Distress Type ACP 13—Loss of Fine and Some Coarse Aggregate

FIGURE 42: Distress Type ACP 13—Loss of Coarse Aggregate

FIGURE 43: Distress Type ACP 14—Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff

FIGURE 44: Distress Type ACP 14—Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff

FIGURE 45: Distress Type ACP 15—Water Bleeding and Pumping

FIGURE 46: Distress Type ACP 15—Fine Material Left on Surface by Water Bleeding and Pumping

FIGURE 47: Measuring Widths of Spalls and Cracks in Jointed Concrete Pavement

FIGURE 48: Distress Type JCP 1—Corner Breaks

FIGURE 49: Distress Type JCP 1—Low Severity Corner Break

FIGURE 50: Distress Type JCP 1—Moderate Severity Corner Break

FIGURE 51: Distress Type JCP 2—Durability Cracking ("D" Cracking)

FIGURE 52: Distress Type JCP 2—Moderate Severity "D" Cracking with Well-Defined Pattern

FIGURE 53: Distress Type JCP 2—High Severity "D" Cracking with Loose and Missing Material

FIGURE 54: Distress Type JCP 3—Longitudinal Cracking

FIGURE 55: Distress Type JCP 3—Low Severity Longitudinal Cracking

FIGURE 56: Distress Type JCP 3—Moderate Severity Longitudinal Cracking

FIGURE 57: Distress Type JCP 3—High Severity Longitudinal Cracking

FIGURE 58: Distress Type JCP 4—Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 59: Distress Type JCP 4—Moderate Severity Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 60: Distress Type JCP 4—High Severity Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 61: Distress Type JCP 5—Low Severity Joint Seal Damage

FIGURE 62: Distress Type JCP 5—Moderate Severity Joint Seal Damage

FIGURE 63: Distress Type JCP 6—Spalling of Longitudinal Joints

FIGURE 64: Distress Type JCP 6—Low Severity Spalling of Longitudinal Joint

FIGURE 65: Distress Type JCP 6—High Severity Spalling of Longitudinal Joint

FIGURE 66: Distress Type JCP 7—Spalling of Transverse Joints

FIGURE 67: Distress Type JCP 7—Moderate Severity Spalling of Transverse Joint, Far View

FIGURE 68: Distress Type JCP 7—Moderate Severity Spalling of Transverse Joint, Close-up View

FIGURE 69: Distress Type JCP 8a—Map Cracking

FIGURE 70: Distress Type JCP 8b—Scaling

FIGURE 71: Distress Type JCP 8b—Scaling, Close-up View

FIGURE 72: Distress Type JCP 9—Polished Aggregate

FIGURE 73: Distress Type JCP 10—Popouts

FIGURE 74: Distress Type JCP 10—A Popout

FIGURE 75: Distress Type JCP 11—Blowups

FIGURE 76: Distress Type JCP 11—A Blowup

FIGURE 77: Distress Type JCP 12—Faulting of Transverse Joints and Cracks

FIGURE 78: Distress Type JCP 12—Faulting of Transverse Cracks

FIGURE 79: Distress Type JCP 13—Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff

FIGURE 80: Distress Type JCP 13—Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff

FIGURE 81: Distress Type JCP 14—Lane-to-Shoulder Separation

FIGURE 82: Distress Type JCP 14—Poorly Sealed Lane-to-Shoulder Separation

FIGURE 83: Distress Type JCP 14—Well-Sealed Lane-to-Shoulder Separation

FIGURE 84: Distress Type JCP 15—Patch/Patch Deterioration

FIGURE 85: Distress Type JCP 15—Small, Low Severity Asphalt Concrete Patch

FIGURE 86: Distress Type JCP 15—Large, Low Severity Asphalt Concrete Patch

FIGURE 87: Distress Type JCP 15—Large, High Severity Asphalt Concrete Patch

FIGURE 88: Distress Type JCP 15—Large, Low Severity Portland Cement Concrete Patch

FIGURE 89: Distress Type JCP 16—Water Bleeding and Pumping

FIGURE 90: Distress Type CRCP 1—Durability Cracking ("D" Cracking)

FIGURE 91: Distress Type CRCP 1—Moderate Severity "D" Cracking at Transverse Crack

FIGURE 92: Distress Type CRCP 1—High Severity "D" Cracking at Longitudinal Joint

FIGURE 93: Distress Type CRCP 2—Longitudinal Cracking

FIGURE 94: Distress Type CRCP 2—Low Severity Longitudinal Cracking

FIGURE 95: Distress Type CRCP 2—High Severity Longitudinal Cracking

FIGURE 96: Distress Type CRCP 3—Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 97: Distress Type CRCP 3—Transverse Cracking Pattern

FIGURE 98: Distress Type CRCP 3—Low Severity Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 99: Distress Type CRCP 3—Moderate Severity Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 100: Distress Type CRCP 3—High Severity Transverse Cracking

FIGURE 101: Distress Type CRCP 4a—Map Cracking Attributable to Alkali-Silica Reactivity

FIGURE 102: Distress Type CRCP 4b—Scaling

FIGURE 103: Distress Type CRCP 5—Polished Aggregate

FIGURE 104: Distress Type CRCP 6—Popouts

FIGURE 105: Distress Type CRCP 6—Popouts

FIGURE 106: Distress Type CRCP 7—Blowups

FIGURE 107: Distress Type CRCP 7—A Blowup

FIGURE 108: Distress Type CRCP 7—Close-up View of a Blowup

FIGURE 109: Distress Type CRCP 7—Exposed Steel in a Blowup

FIGURE 110: Distress Type CRCP 8—Transverse Construction Joint Deterioration

FIGURE 111: Distress Type CRCP 8—Low Severity Transverse Construction Joint Deterioration

FIGURE 112: Distress Type CRCP 8—Moderate Severity Transverse Construction Joint Deterioration

FIGURE 113: Distress Type CRCP 8—Low Severity Transverse Construction Joint Deterioration

FIGURE 114: Distress Type CRCP 9—Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff

FIGURE 115: Distress Type CRCP 9—Lane-to-Shoulder Dropoff

FIGURE 116: Distress Type CRCP 10—Lane-to-Shoulder Separation

FIGURE 117: Distress Type CRCP 10—Close-up View of a Lane-to-Shoulder Separation

FIGURE 118: Distress Type CRCP 11—Patch/Patch Deterioration

FIGURE 119: Distress Type CRCP 11—Small, Low Severity Asphalt Concrete Patch

FIGURE 120: Distress Type CRCP 11—Low Severity Asphalt Concrete Patch

FIGURE 121: Distress Type CRCP 11—Moderate Severity Asphalt Concrete Patch

FIGURE 122: Distress Type CRCP 11—Low Severity Portland Cement Concrete Patch

FIGURE 123: Distress Type CRCP 12—Punchouts

FIGURE 124: Distress Type CRCP 12—Low Severity Punchout

FIGURE 125: Distress Type CRCP 12—Moderate Severity Punchout

FIGURE 126: Distress Type CRCP 12—High Severity Punchout

FIGURE 127: Distress Type CRCP 13—Spalling of Longitudinal Joints

FIGURE 128: Distress Type CRCP 13—Close-up View of Low Severity Spalling of a Longitudinal Joint

FIGURE 129: Distress Type CRCP 13—Low Severity Spalling of a Longitudinal Joint

FIGURE 130: Distress Type CRCP 13—Moderate Severity Spalling of a Longitudinal Joint

FIGURE 131: Distress Type CRCP 14—Water Bleeding and Pumping

FIGURE 132: Distress Type CRCP 14—Close-up View of Water Bleeding and Pumping

FIGURE 133: Distress Type CRCP 15—Longitudinal Joint Seal Damage

Appendix A

FIGURE A1: Test Section Limits for Surveys—Asphalt Surface

FIGURE A2: Test Section Limits for Surveys—Concrete Surface

FIGURE A3: Locating Wheel Paths in Asphalt Concrete-Surfaced Pavements

FIGURE A4: Distress Map Symbols for Asphalt Concrete-Surfaced Pavements

FIGURE A5: Example Map of First 30.5 Meters of Asphalt Concrete Pavement Section

FIGURE A6: Distress Map Symbols for Jointed Concrete Pavements

FIGURE A7: Example Map of First 30.5 Meters of a Jointed Concrete Pavement Section

FIGURE A8: Distress Map Symbols for Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavements

FIGURE A9: Example Map of First 30.5 Meters of a Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement Section

Appendix B

FIGURE B1: The Georgia Faultmeter in Use

Appendix C

FIGURE C1: Longitudinal Profile Measurement with Dipstick—Site Layout and Measurement Procedure

List of Tables

TABLE 1: Asphalt Concrete-Surfaced Pavement Distress Types

TABLE 2: Jointed Concrete-Surfaced Pavement Distress Types

TABLE 3: Continuously Reinforced Concrete-Surfaced Pavement Distress Types

Appendix C

TABLE C1: Allowable Closure Errors for Transverse Dipstick Measurements

Preface

The Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) was created as a 5-year program. The goals of SHRP's Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program, however, required an additional 15 years of research. To meet these goals, LTPP was transferred from SHRP to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on July 1, 1992, in accordance with the mandate of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.

The first SHRP Distress Identification Manual for the Long-Term Pavement Performance Studies (1987) was authored by Kurt D. Smith, Michael I. Darter, Kathleen T. Hall, and J. Brent Rauhut. Support for that work was provided by the FHWA under Contract No. DTFH61-85-C-0095 as part of a "transition plan" to support planned implementation of LTPP monitoring, pending SHRP funding authorization by Congress.

A second version, the Distress Identification Manual for the Long-Term Pavement Performance Studies (1990), was developed by Karen Benson, Humberto Castedo, and Dimitrios G. Goulias, with guidance and support from W. R. Hudson. Support for the revision work was provided by SHRP as a part of Contract SHRP-87-P001.

A third version was developed by John S. Miller, Richard Ben Rogers, and Gonzalo R. Rada, with guidance and support from William Yeadon Bellinger, of the FHWA. Guidance was also provided by the Distress Identification Manual Expert Task Group.

Valuable information, material, and technical support were provided by: the National Association of Australian State Road Authorities; Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications; American Public Works Association; the Asphalt Institute; the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet; the Michigan DOT; the Mississippi State Highway Department; the Missouri Highway and Transportation Department; the North Carolina DOT; the Pennsylvania DOT; the Texas DOT; and the Washington State DOT.

This fourth version is the result of 8 years of practical experience using the third version. It incorporates refinements, changes, and LTPP directives that have occurred over time.

GUIDANCE TO LTPP USERS

Please follow the guidelines in appendix A ("Manual for Distress Surveys") to ensure the data collected will be comparable to other LTPP data. Sample data collection sheets are included in the appendix. As you evaluate a section of roadway, keep the manual handy to determine the type and severity of distress, and find the definition and illustration that best matches the pavement section being surveyed.

Appendix B describes how to use the Georgia Digital Faultmeter. Chapter 3 of the LTPP Manual for Profile Measurements Using the Face Dipstick®, v. 4.0, September, 2002, is shown in appendix C.

For more assistance in the identification of pavement distress, contact the FHWA's LTPP program.

GUIDANCE TO OTHER USERS

As a pavement distress dictionary, the manual will improve communications within the pavement community by fostering more uniform and consistent definitions of pavement distress. Highway agencies, airports, parking facilities, and others with significant investment in pavements will benefit from adopting a standard distress language.

Colleges and universities will use the manual in highway engineering courses. It also serves as a valuable training tool for highway agencies. Now when a distress is labeled "high severity fatigue cracking," for example, it is clear exactly what is meant. Repairs can be planned and executed more efficiently, saving the highway agency crew time and money.

Although not specifically designed as a pavement management tool, the Distress Identification Manual can play an important role in a State's pavement management program by ridding reports of inconsistencies and variations caused by a lack of standardized terminology. Most pavement management programs do not need to collect data at the level of detail and precision required for the LTPP program, nor are the severity levels used in the manual necessarily appropriate for all pavement management situations. Thus, you may choose to modify the procedures (but not the definitions) contained in the manual to meet your specific needs, taking into account the desired level of detail, accuracy and timeliness of information, available resources, and predominant types of distress within the study area.

 

 

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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). 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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