CRCP Design Using the AASHTO Pavement ME Design Program (FHWA-HIF-13-027)

FHWA-HIF-13-027With the completion of the mechanistic–empirical pavement design guide and the recent availability of the AASHTOWare® Pavement ME Design software, design of continuously reinforced concrete pavement (CRCP) has undergone significant changes. The primary purpose of this TechBrief, based on a more comprehensive Technical Summary, is to provide engineers with the basic mechanistic–empirical design background and criteria utilized in the new ME Design software for CRCP. This document describes the main CRCP design inputs and identifies the most sensitive design inputs and features. Also, examples are included to demonstrate the use of the new software for the design of both new CRCP and CRCP overlays.

ME Design incorporates the pavement structure layers, materials, local climate, and traffic into the design process. In addition to the selection of slab thickness, ME Design includes selection of steel content and depth, concrete material constituents, support layers and properties, edge support, and construction methods and season. A state-of-the-art mechanistic–empirical design of CRCP is incorporated into the software based on many years of research conducted under NCHRP 1-37 and current knowledge and practices. The fundamental CRCP performance criteria incorporated in the ME Design software are development of punchouts and roughness (International Roughness Index (IRI)). Factors that have been reported to affect the punchout criterion are loss of foundation and edge support, excessive crack width and spacing, slab thickness, and high temperatures during construction.

Authors: Jeffery Roesler, Ph.D., P.E., and Jacob E. Hiller, Ph.D.