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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-16-084    Date:  March 2019
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-16-084
Date: March 2019

 

Impact of Environmental Factors on Pavement Performance in The Absence of Heavy Loads

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FOREWORD

This report documents the analysis of data collected through the Long-Term Pavement Performance program to characterize the impact of environmental factors on pavement performance. The objectives of this analysis were to identify and quantify the effects of environmental factors and pavement design on pavement performance in the absence of heavy loads; develop recommendations for mitigating these effects through effective design, materials selection, and construction; estimate the portion of pavement damage caused by environmental factors; and establish a database of pavement design features, materials properties, and performance to be used in the future for similar analyses.

The study showed that, for flexible pavements that have been in service for 15 yr with normal traffic loading, 36 percent of total damage is related to environmental factors (e.g., subgrade and climate variables). For rigid pavements that have been in service for 15 yr with normal traffic loading, 24 percent of total damage is related to environmental factors.

Results related to the impact of specific subgrade, climate, traffic, and design factors on pavement performance will be of interest to pavement, materials, and pavement-management engineers concerned with the design, materials properties, and performance of flexible and rigid pavements.

Cheryl Allen Richter, P.E., Ph.D.
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 the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

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Technical Report Documentation Page
1. Report No.
FHWA-HRT-16-084
2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient’s Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Impact of Environmental Factors on Pavement Performance in the Absence of Heavy Loads
5. Report Date
March 2019
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)
Leslie Titus-Glover, Michael I. Darter, and Harold Von Quintus
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
Applied Research Associates, Inc.
100 Trade Centre Drive, Suite 200
Champaign, IL 61820
10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Final Report; January 2011-December 2015
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
HRDI-30
15. Supplementary Notes
The Contracting Officer's Technical Representative was Jack Springer (HRDI-30).
16. Abstract
The objectives of this study were to identify and quantify the effects of environmental factors and pavement design on pavement performance in the absence of heavy loads; establish what the environmental effects are and develop recommendations for mitigating these effects through effective designs, materials selection, and construction; estimate the portion of total pavement damage caused by environmental factors; and establish a database of pavement design features, materials properties, and performance to be used in the future for similar analyses. Site-by-site analyses of the Long-Term Pavement Performance program's Specific Pavement Study (SPS)-8 sections were conducted. Next, researchers determined the effect of environmental factors in SPS-8 and companion sections from other SPSs and General Pavement Studies (GPSs) on the performance of flexible and rigid pavements. Finally, an estimate of the portion of pavement damage caused by environmental factors was made through a comparison of the pavement damage of low-traffic SPS-8 sections with higher-traffic companion SPS and GPS sections. Results showed an average of 36 and 24 percent of total damage was related to environmental factors for flexible and rigid pavements, respectively, at an age of 15 yr.

In addition, many results were obtained through an analysis of the performances of SPS-8 and companion SPS and GPS sections. One such finding was that the occurrence of transverse cracking of asphalt-concrete pavement was significantly higher for companion pavements subjected to higher traffic loadings (SPS-1 and GPS-1) than under low-traffic loadings (SPS-8). Transverse cracking also occurred in nonfreeze climates. Based on the results from this study, suggestions for improvements to pavement designs and materials to minimize distress and to maximize performance in various climatic regions are presented.
17. Key Words
LTPP, Pavement performance, Damage, Environmental factors, JPCP, ACP, Subgrade, SPS-8, Truck loadings, Cost allocation
18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.
https://www.ntis.gov
19. Security Classif. (of this report)
Unclassified
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
Unclassified
21. No. of Pages
260
22. Price
N/A
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed pages authorized.

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