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Pavement Management

Pavement Evaluation

Pavement performance is a function of its relative ability to serve traffic over a period of time (Highway Research Board, 1962). Originally, a pavement’s relative ability to serve traffic was determined quite subjectively by visual inspection and experience.

Figure 6: Illustration of Zero Deflection Due to a Stiff Layer

Deflection Based Nondestructive Pavement Analyses

Introduction This topic will be oriented toward techniques which can be used to interpret nondestructive testing, NDT, data from the Falling Weight Deflectometer, FWD. There are all kinds of NDT data which can be collected on or about pavements but concentration is placed on measured surface deflections. This article is separated into three broad themes: … Read more »

Figure 3. Benkelman beam in use.


Pavement surface deflection measurements are the primary means of evaluating a flexible pavement structure and rigid pavement load transfer. Although other measurements can be made that reflect (to some degree) a pavement’s structural condition, surface deflection is an important pavement evaluation method because the magnitude and shape of pavement deflection is a function of traffic … Read more »

Basic schematic of Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP)


Dynamic Cone Penetrometer General The Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) is used to measure the rate of penetration through the various layers of a pavement. In South Africa, the measurement of the in-situ shear strength of the pavement layers using a DCP, has also led to the development of pavement evaluation and rehabilitation design methods. The … Read more »

Figure 2: Road Profiling Van

Evaluation Categories

Pavement performance is a function of its relative ability to serve traffic over a period of time. Typically, a system of objective measurements is used to quantify a pavement’s condition and performance. These systems are used to aid in making the following types of decisions (Hicks and Mahoney, 1981[1]): Establish maintenance priorities. Condition data such … Read more »

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FWD AREA Parameter

FWD tests produce a series of numbers that describes the deflection basin shape.  Although these numbers are descriptive, it is often desired to use a single number as a index of the deflection basin shape.  One such number, the AREA Parameter represents the normalized area of a vertical slice taken through a deflection basin between … Read more »


Pavement Condition Rating Systems

Based on measurements of roughness, surface distress, skid resistance and deflection, pavements can be assigned a score that reflects their overall condition.  This score, sometimes called a pavement condition rating, quantifies a pavement’s overall performance and can be used to help manage pavement networks.  By carefully choosing the rating scale (called the condition index), pavement … Read more »

Figure 2. This figure shows the stress distribution within a flexible pavement structure for a low and a high tire load.

Super Heavy Load Analysis

Superheavy loads are defined as loads that exceed 254,300-lbs. gross vehicle weight, exceed the maximum permissible weight on any axle or axle group, or exceed 200,000 pounds with less than 95 feet of axle spacing. However, these loads have approached 2,000,000 lbs. gross. Due to the magnitude of these loads, there is a risk of … Read more »

Figure 1.  Shearing of the Pavement Surface During Turning Movements

Damage from Superheavy Load Moves

The typical damages related to superheavy load moves are summarized as follows: Shearing of the pavement surface during turning movements. The figure below shows the need to consider road geometry in the superheavy load route evaluation. This damage can be prevented by using transport equipment with steerable axles. If the mover does not have this … Read more »

Picture 1. Minnesota's DCPT Rig in Action

Dynamic Cone Penetration Test

Test Overview The Dynamic Cone Penetration Test provides a measure of a material’s in-situ resistance to penetration. The test is performed by driving a metal cone into the ground by repeated striking it with a 17.6 lb (8 Kg)weight dropped from a distance of 2.26 feet (575 mm). The penetration of the cone is measured … Read more »

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Ground Penetrating Radar

GPR is a nondestructive field test that can provide a continuous profile of existing road conditions. GPR can utilize high-speed data collection at speeds up to 50 mph, thus requiring less traffic control and resulting in greater safety. GPR has the potential to be used for a variety of pavement applications, including: measuring the thickness … Read more »

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