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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-06-067
Date: March 2006

Guidelines for The Collection of Long-Term Pavement Performance Data

Chapter 9. SPS Construction Data

SPS experiments are comprised of projects incorporating multiple test sections at a specific location. The test sections at each project site include variations in structural design (thickness and materials), maintenance treatment, or rehabilitation treatment. The test sections in each project are built to meet a specific set of requirements. Because these sites are at the same location, they are expected to be subject to the same traffic and climate conditions, thus allowing for direct comparisons between the different pavement structures.

The document below describes the general requirements incorporated into the experimental design for each SPS experiment.

Because these sections are built to meet specific requirements, there are data associated with the construction of each project that are recorded for evaluating the performance of each test section within the project.

For each experiment, with the exception of the SPS–3 and SPS–4 experiments, there are four types of documents used in developing these projects. The first document defines the experimental design, the second provides guidelines for nominating a new project, the third provides guidelines to be used in constructing projects, and the fourth document provides the information required to be collected on each project. There is a fifth document for each experiment concerning the sampling and testing of material used on each project. This document is covered under chapter 11, sections 11.2 and 11.3 of this document.

9.1 SPS–1, Strategic Study of Structural Factors for Flexible Pavements

9.1.1 SPS–1 Introduction

The SPS–1 experiment, Strategic Study of Structural Factors for Flexible Pavements, requires constructing multiple test sections with similar design details and materials at each of 16 sites distributed in 4 climatic regions. The SPS–1 experiment has been developed as a coordinated national experiment to investigate the effect of selected structural factors on the long-term performance of flexible pavements constructed on different subgrade types in different environmental regions. The structural factors include surface layer thicknesses, base type (material), drainability (permeability), and base course thicknesses. Characterization of the material properties and the variations in these properties between test sections provide a basis for improving current structural design methods.

9.1.2 SPS–1 References

The following references govern the experimental design, nomination, construction, and collection of construction data on each SPS–1 project.

SPS–1 Experiment Design

The experimental design provides basic information regarding the experiment, the factors included in the study, and the levels of each factor.

Guidelines for Nomination of SPS–1 Projects

The nomination guidelines provide the information and forms needed by the SHAs to nominate a project for inclusion in the experiment.

This document was modified by directive S–1 on November 27, 1992. This modification involved the allowance of traffic variations along the length of an SPS–1 project under certain conditions.

Data Collection Guidelines for SPS–1 Projects

The data collection guidelines provide the data forms to be completed during the construction of each project and the instructions for completing these forms.

Construction Guidelines for SPS–1 Projects

The construction guidelines provide the specific requirements on the individual material types and any specific required construction practices to be used in the construction of each project.

9.2 SPS–2, Strategic Study of Structural Factors for Rigid Pavements

9.2.1 SPS–2 Introduction

The SPS–2 experiment, Strategic Study of Structural Factors for Rigid Pavements, requires constructing multiple test sections with similar details and materials at each of 16 sites distributed in the 4 climatic regions. The primary SPS–2 experiment requires the construction of 12 test sections at each of the test sites. The experiment addresses doweled jointed plain concrete pavements. The study factors are grouped into structural factors that relate to the base and concrete materials, and site factors that relate to the climate and subgrade.

9.2.2 SPS–2 References

SPS–2 Experimental Design

Nomination Guidelines for SPS–2 Projects

This document was modified by directive S–1 on November 27, 1992. This modification involved the allowance of traffic variations along the length of an SPS–2 project under certain conditions.

Data Collection Guidelines for SPS–2 Projects

Construction Guidelines for SPS–2 Projects

9.3 SPS–3, Pavement Maintenance Effectiveness of Flexible Pavements

SPS–3 projects are part of the Pavement Maintenance Effectiveness of Flexible Pavements study. These projects were selected from inservice roadways, and a specific maintenance treatment was applied to each test section in the project.

The objective of the SPS–3 experiment is to compare the effectiveness and mechanisms by which selected maintenance treatments preserve and extend pavement service life, safety, and ride quality on asphalt concrete (AC) pavements. The experiment includes a variety of environmental conditions, traffic volumes, and other factors that are incorporated into the analysis through the experimental design. The effectiveness of preventive maintenance treatments is determined by comparing the performance of the SPS–3 experiment sections with an equivalent control section that does not receive any treatment. The impact of individual materials or construction processes is not a part of this study. Sites to be included in the SPS–3 experiment were selected based on moisture climatic data (moisture and temperature), subgrade type, traffic level, surface condition, and structural adequacy. Within each site a variety of preventive maintenance methods were applied, including crack sealing, chip seal, slurry seal, and thin overlays.

9.4 SPS–4, Pavement Maintenance Effectiveness of Rigid Pavements

SPS–4 projects are part of the Pavement Maintenance Effectiveness of Rigid Pavements study. These projects were selected from inservice roadways, and a specific maintenance treatment was applied to each test section in the project.

The objective of the SPS–4 experiment is to compare the effectiveness and mechanisms by which selected maintenance treatments preserve and extend pavement life, safety, and ride quality on jointed concrete pavements (JCP). The experiment includes a variety of environmental conditions, traffic volumes, and other factors that are incorporated into the analysis through the experimental design. The effectiveness of preventive maintenance treatments is determined by comparing performance of the SPS–4 experimental sections with an equivalent control section that does not receive any treatment. The impact of individual materials or construction processes is not a part of this study. Sites to be included in the SPS–4 experiment were selected based on moisture climatic data (moisture and temperature), subgrade type, traffic level, pavement type, and subbase type. Within each site, two preventive maintenance methods were applied: crack/joint sealing and undersealing.

9.5 SPS–5, Rehabilitation of Asphalt Concrete Pavements

9.5.1 SPS–5 Introduction

The objective of the SPS–5 experiment, Rehabilitation of Asphalt Concrete Pavements, is to investigate the performance of selected AC pavement rehabilitation treatments. A variety of rehabilitation techniques can be applied to AC pavements to restore condition and extend service life. The techniques included in this experiment involve a combination of types and thicknesses of AC overlays using either virgin or recycled AC mixes. Another variable being examined is the extent of surface preparation. Characterization of the materials and their variation between test sections is required to explain performance differences between test sections and provide a basis for improvement of rehabilitation design strategies and methods.

Criteria for selection limit the sites to a single structural cross section, constructed of the same materials throughout, under a single contract. The flexibility in location of test sections is restricted to avoid cut/fill transitions, bridges, culverts, and side hill fills, and also to ensure inclusion of additional test sections constructed by the SHA that will affect the potential for variability of the subgrade soils.

9.5.2 SPS–5 References

SPS–5 projects are part of the Rehabilitation of Asphalt Concrete Pavements study. These projects involve the construction of overlays of varying thicknesses and materials as well as differing pre-overlay strategies. The following references govern the experimental design, project nomination, construction, and collection of construction data on each SPS–5 project.

SPS–5 Experiment Design

Nomination Guidelines for SPS–5 Projects

Data Collection Guidelines for SPS–5 Projects

The construction data sheets were revised according to directive S–01 on November 27, 1992. Further revision was made to construction data sheet 7 according to directive S–03 on February 10, 1993.

Construction Guidelines for SPS–5 Projects

9.6 SPS–6, Rehabilitation of Jointed Portland Cement Concrete Pavements

9.6.1 SPS–6 Introduction

The objective of the SPS–6 experiment, Rehabilitation of Jointed Portland Cement Concrete Pavements, is to investigate the performance of selected PCC rehabilitation treatments. A variety of rehabilitation techniques can be applied to JCP to restore condition and extend service life. The techniques included in this experiment involve a combination of levels and types of pavement preparation with and without the application of AC overlays. Pavement preparation may range from minimal treatment of the original PCC pavement to cracking/breaking and seating to full concrete pavement restoration (CPR). Depending on the extent and type of pavement preparation, AC overlays of appropriate thickness may or may not be applied.

On an SPS–6, there are seven experimental test sections and one control section. Two pavement types (jointed plain concrete and jointed reinforced concrete) are constructed in both fair and poor conditions in three climatic regions (wet-freeze, wet-no freeze, and dry-freeze). One pavement type (jointed plain concrete) is constructed in both fair and poor condition in the fourth climatic region (dry-no freeze). Due to the greater investment in construction of experimental test sections, the opportunity to collect a complete historical data record starting from construction, and the greater yield of information due to multiple test sections on the same site, a more rigorous overall testing program is used on SPS projects than is currently used on GPS projects.

9.6.2 SPS–6 References

SPS–6 projects are part of the Rehabilitation of Jointed Portland Cement Concrete Pavements study. The following references govern the experiment design, project nomination, construction, and collection of construction data on each SPS–6 project.

SPS–6 Experiment Design

Nomination Guidelines for SPS–6 Projects

Data Collection Guidelines for SPS–6 Projects

The construction data sheets were revised per directive S–01 on November 27, 1992. Construction data sheet 7 was updated per directive S–03 on February 10, 1993.

Construction Guidelines for SPS–6 Projects

9.7 SPS–7, Bonded Portland Cement Concrete Overlays of Concrete Pavement

9.7.1 SPS–7 Introduction

The objective of the SPS–7 experiment, Bonded Portland Cement Concrete Overlays of Concrete Pavement, is to evaluate the effectiveness of bonded concrete overlays as a rehabilitation technique for existing concrete overlays. The experiment attempts measures the additional pavement life that results from the use of bonded concrete overlays, evaluates the effectiveness of surface preparation techniques, and investigates the influence of climate on the performance of bonded concrete overlays. The experiment involves overlays on jointed plain, jointed reinforced, and continuously reinforced concrete pavements. There are a variety of factors to be addressed in this experiment, including surface preparation, use of bonding grout, and overlay thickness.

On an SPS–7, there are eight experimental test sections, one control section, and one additional supplemental section for use by local agencies to evaluate features of regional interest. All of the pavement sections will have PCC overlays of either 76.2 or 127 mm (3 to 5 inches) in thickness, and two methods of surface preparation will be used (cold milling or shot blasting). Due to the greater investment in construction of experimental test sections, the opportunity to collect a complete historical data record starting from construction, and the greater yield of information due to multiple test sections on the same site, a more rigorous testing program is used on SPS projects than is currently used on GPS projects.

Criteria for selection limit the sites to an original pavement with a single structural cross section, constructed of the same materials throughout under a single contract. Flexibility in location of test sections is necessary to avoid cut/fill transitions, bridges, culverts, and side hill fills and also enable inclusion of additional test sections constructed by the SHA. These requirements will affect the potential for variability of the subgrade soils.

9.7.2 SPS–7 References

SPS–7 projects are part of the Bonded Portland Cement Concrete Overlays of Concrete Pavements study. The following references govern the experimental design, project nomination, construction, and collection of data on each SPS–7 project.

SPS–7 Experimental Design

Nomination Guidelines for SPS–7 Projects

Data Collection Guidelines for SPS–7 Projects

The SPS–7 construction data sheets were updated per directive S–7 on February 4, 1994.

Construction Guidelines for SPS–7 Projects

9.8 SPS–8, Study of the Environmental Effects in the Absence of Heavy Loads

9.8.1 SPS–8 Introduction

The SPS–8 experiment, Study of the Environmental Effects in the Absence of Heavy Loads, was developed to investigate the performance of selected flexible and rigid pavement structures constructed on different subgrade types in different environmental regions. For flexible pavements, the structural factors include different surface and base layer thicknesses. For rigid pavements, the concrete slab thickness is the only structural factor considered.

As with other SPS new construction experiments (SPS–1 and SPS–2), SPS–8 starts with controlled construction of multiple test sections co-located on a project. Specifically, on an SPS–8 project, there are at least two experimental test sections and possibly four if both rigid and flexible sections are built.

9.8.2 SPS–8 References

SPS–8 projects are part of the Study of Environmental Effects in the Absence of Heavy Loads. Each of these projects consists of at least two test sections identical to those constructed as part of the SPS–1 or SPS–2 experiment constructed on low volume roadways. The following references govern the experimental design, project nomination, construction, and collection of construction data on each SPS–8 project.

SPS–8 Experiment Design

Nomination Guidelines for SPS–8 Projects

Data Collection Guidelines for SPS–8 Projects

In accordance with directive S12, revisions were made to construction data sheets 7 and 19 on January 31, 1997.

Construction Guidelines for SPS–8 Projects

9.9 SPS–9, Validation of SHRP Asphalt Specifications and Mix Design and Innovations in Asphalt Pavements

9.9.1 SPS–9 Introduction

The primary objective of the SPS–9 experiment, Validation of SHRP Asphalt Specifications and Mix Design and Innovations in Asphalt Pavements, is to validate the performance-based SHRP asphalt binder specifications and asphalt-aggregate mixture specifications. Additionally, this experiment was intended to provide for inservice field evaluation of innovative materials.

The SPS–9A experiment, Superpave Asphalt Binder Study, was developed as a subset of the SPS–9 experiment. Its primary objectives are to validate the SHRP binder specifications, allow direct comparison of asphalt mixtures designed using SHA procedures and the newly developed SHRP procedures, and provide initial data for use in refining the mixture performance models also developed as part of the SHRP research. Initial performance-based specification limits and requirements were developed by the SHRP Asphalt Research Program from a database of accelerated, standardized tests using established performance prediction models and validated by correlation with inplace field pavement data. The SPS–9A experiment is needed to expedite the analyses and further validate these products. SPS–9A allows SHAs and contractors to have hands-on experience in utilizing and implementing the Superpave technology and allows for direct comparison with current SHA standards.

The SPS–9A test pavements may be built either as part of a new, reconstructed roadway or overlay, or as a parallel test road. If built as part of a reconstructed or resurfaced roadway, the reconstruction should include all lanes. In all cases, the cross section must be uniform. These projects involve constructing a minimum of three test sections with a layer of asphalt concrete with varying binder types in each test section. Construction of the test sections in a lane that is added to an existing pavement are not suitable for this experiment because of the difficulty of discerning the relationship between distresses developed in the existing lanes and those developed in the widened test sections.

9.9.2 SPS–9 References

SPS–9 Experimental Design

Nomination Guidelines for SPS–9 Projects

Data Collection Guidelines for SPS–9 Projects

Construction Guidelines for SPS–9 Projects


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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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