Innovative Prefabrication Techniques for Pavement Infrastructure

Paper by VAN LEEST VENMANS from ISCR 10th 2006 Brussels Belgium

The advantages of prefabrication and precasting are well known in the building industry: a short building-time, efficient use of materials, optimum quality control, financially appealing and sophisticated logistics. In residential, commercial and industrial building in the Netherlands, the use of prefabrication is common practice. It would be logical to assume that prefabrication is also common practice in the civil engineering industry, but the reality is somewhat different. Prefabrication is used for bridge girders, piles and tunnel linings, but rarely in pavement construction. Pavements are produced on the building site. Most roads in the Netherlands are full depth asphalt structures and prefabrication is not even considered an option. Does this mean that the advantages of prefabrication do not apply to roads? New insights into mobility and economics dictate a new look at the way we build roads. In a recent study, CROW examined the possibilities and challenges for the building industry to come up with existing and new ideas for innovative prefabrication in the infrastructure. Some Dutch examples of prefabrication in road construction are presented. One of those, the ModieSlab concept, combines different functions. The modular pavement elements reduce noise emission, deteriorated elements can be replaced quickly and elements can be equipped with systems for energy storage. The durability and speed of construction are a great advantage of the precast road slabs. After a relatively short period required for assembling the precast slabs, the road is accessible for traffic. This is in sharp contrast with the present day-to-day practice. The need for smart, fast and durable solutions in infrastructure increases. The CROW study described in the paper provides an insight into the possibilities of prefabrication here in.

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