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This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-084
Date: May 2006

Highway Concrete Technology Development and Testing Volume IIi: Field Evaluation of SHRP C-205 Test Sites (High Performance Concrete)

Chapter 2. Visual Examination of SHRP C-205 Sites

Visual examination of the HES concrete patches was conducted each year between 1994 and 1998, usually between the months of August and November. The survey teams consisted of experienced personnel, and care was taken to maintain uniformity in the data collection, as much as possible, over the entire performance monitoring period. The main data items of interest during the visual examination process included recording the progression of pavement distress within each patch, with special focus on materials-related distresses. The distresses were recorded through a variety of means, including mapping distresses, recording any changes in condition, and taking pHotos and videos of the section. In addition to monitoring the condition of concrete, for the North Carolina section it was also meaningful to collect and analyze pavement performance data such as faulting, transverse cracking, and joint spalling. At each site, the respective State DOT provided necessary traffic control to perform the distress surveys.

Appendix A provides detailed maps sHowing the locations and magnitudes of the various pavement distresses as they developed during the performance period. Major findings from the visual surveys of each site are summarized below.


The HES patches (insulated and uninsulated) in Arkansas could be surveyed only in 1994 and 1995. The patches were overlaid sHortly after the 1995 survey as part of a major rehabilitation project on I–40. Each patch consisted of three pavement slabs 4.6 m (15 ft) long. Both patches exhibited minor scaling and map cracking in 1994. However, their condition did not vary significantly between the two survey dates. The joint sealant was in good condition on all sections, with no evidence of durability-related distresses.


The Illinois sections exhibit some map cracking. The level of cracking did not change substantially over the monitoring period, altHough some progression of map cracking was noted over the years. One plausible cause for this distress is the potential use of deicing salts on these patches. Subjectively, at least, the sections generally seemed more deteriorated in 1998 than in 1994 (perhaps the impression is due to more scaling). However, as noted earlier, these changes were difficult to quantify. Figures 35 through 39 in appendix A sHow that both Illinois sections had some transverse cracking. The structural crack in the IL-2 section existed since 1994, and no significant changes in progression or deterioration of the crack occurred over the monitoring period. Other cracks are a result of the interconnecting of map cracks. A minor progression of these cracks occurred over the monitoring period, but none appeared to have progressed to a working, structural crack.


The Nebraska sections have a few transverse cracks, which have existed since 1994 (see figures 40 through 44 in appendix A). A modest increase in map cracking was noticed in 1998. The map cracking occurred mostly along the joints and cracks and around the cores. The pattern cracking appeared characteristic of ASR, which is known to occur in the area. It is interesting to note, However, that map cracking appeared to be a problem only on the repair slabs (not just the SHRP repairs, but also other repairs in the area). The original concrete, placed in 1957, did not exhibit any signs of map cracking.


The one experimental patch in New York remained in excellent condition with no signs of map cracking or scaling over the entire monitoring period. The scaling and map cracking prevalent in patches located at other sites did not affect this patch. It was reported in the original SHRP study that deicing salts were not used on this section between 1991 and 1993. (1)


The North Carolina section is in excellent condition with no signs of map cracking or scaling. The concrete condition did not change over the monitoring period. The North Carolina patch is relatively long compared to the other patches, so monitoring the pavement performance is more meaningful. The pavement performance data from the North Carolina section are summarized in table 6. The transverse cracks present at the time of construction (due to delay in sawing joints) progressed over time from low to high severity in some locations. The section also exhibits some joint spalling and faulting. However, the levels of these distresses remained relatively low and their condition remained virtually unchanged over the entire performance monitoring period.


In general, the test sections did not sHow any significant changes in condition over the monitoring period, especially tHose in the warmer climates. The sections in freezing climates –the Illinois and Nebraska sections– sHowed some amount of map cracking and scaling. The severity of map cracking at these two sites increased slightly over the monitoring period, but not significantly enough to report as a different level of severity. Quantifying changes in severity for such distress proved difficult. The sites cannot be mapped accurately enough over the years to note minor changes that occur from year to year, and the pHotos do not sHow enough detail to be useful for this purpose.

Table 6. Distress summary of SHRP C-205 section in North Carolina.
Transverse Cracking Joint Spalling Faulting (inch)
1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
0+15             L L L L -0.01 -0.03 0.01 0.00 0.07


          -0.03² 0.00² 0.03² -0.01² 0.00²


          L L L L L 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.06 0.06


          L L L L L 0.00 0.00 -0.01 0.03 -0.01


          L L L L L 0.10 0.10 0.14 0.10 0.11


          L L L L L   0.10 0.10 0.10 0.08


  L L L L 0.072 0.062 0.072 0.052 0.062
1+20 H H H H H     Patch Joint Patch Joint
1+35             L L L L -0.01 0.00 0.01 0.06 0.08

  L L L L 0.06² 0.07² 0.10² 0.10² 0.10²
1+65                     0.07 0.08 0.06 0.11 0.18


31% 54% 54% 54% 54% 0.03 0.04 0.06 0.06 0.07

1 Joint not sawed.
2 Faulting of the crack.
1 inch = 25.4 mm
L = Low
M = Medium
H = High