Long-Term Performance and Rehabilitation Strategy of Portland Cement Concrete Pavement on US-290 in Houston, Texas

2012 - MoonThe 27-mi (43.5 km) section of US-290 between Loop 610 and Badtke Road consists of portland cement concrete (PCC) pavement built at various times with different pavement structures (10-inch and 13-inch-thick (250 mm and 330 mm) slabs). There are two pavement types (continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) and jointed reinforced concrete pavement (JRCP). As of 2012, the age of the pavement varies from 7 to 52 years.

Over the years, the traffic on US-290 has increased steadily, and the highway capacity has been exceeded in some parts of the section, resulting in traffic delays and high user costs. The Houston District of the Texas Department of Transportation is planning to increase the highway capacity of this section. Detailed evaluations were made to develop optimum short-term and long-term strategies.

All the sections are in good structural condition with no punchouts in the 27-mi-long (43.5 km) roadway, regardless of the age of the pavement and slab thickness. However, major functional distresses exist in the 10-inch (250 mm) sections, all built with siliceous river gravel as the coarse aggregate. Primary distress type present is severe spalling. However, from a structural standpoint, all the four sections outperformed design traffic by 3 to 10 times. All of the 13-inch (330 mm) CRCP sections used crushed limestone as the coarse aggregate, and spalling distress is almost nonexistent. Based on the performance of CRCP built with crushed limestone coarse aggregate with a stabilized base and tied concrete shoulder, it is believed that the 13-inch CRCP sections will provide excellent long-term performance with minimal maintenance required.

The recommended short-term strategy is to place a 4-inch (100 mm) bonded concrete overlay on the 10-inch (250 mm) CRCP sections built prior to 1985, and an 8-inch (200 mm) unbonded concrete overlay with a 2-inch (50 mm) asphalt interlayer on the 10-inch JRCP built in 1973 through 1977. Recommended long-term strategies include removal and replacement of all the current 10-inch PCC pavements with 13-inch (330 mm) CRCP, and widening the existing 13-inch CRCP.

Presented at FHWA’s International Conference on Long-Life Concrete Pavements in 2012.

Author: Moon Won


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