Challenges for Rigid Airfield Pavements in Australia

Paper and Presentation by Greg White from ASCP 4th Concrete Pavements Conference 2017

Rigid pavements provide an important element of the Australian airfield pavement inventory. Airfield pavements are designed differently to road pavements and rigid airfield pavements utilise specific concrete mixtures and details, reflecting the particular requirements of aircraft and their safe operation. The divestment in airport ownership and management by the Commonwealth government in the 1990s resulted in the disbandment of the works departments that maintained Australian rigid airfield pavement technology. As a result, some more recently identified technology challenges have not been solved.

Important challenges include the specification of characteristic and flexural strength for concrete design and acceptance, as well as the absence of local guidance for sub-base selection, joint and transition pavement detailing and the repair of cracks and spalls. Pavement type selection based on construction cost, rather than whole of life cost, and the increasing demand for expedient pavement reconstruction methods also present unsolved challenges.

A program of applied research, aimed at developing solutions to these challenges and the preparation of independent guidance materials for practitioners, is recommended in the future.

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