Pavement Type Selection: What is the Ideal Process?

Paper by Leif Wathne from 12th ISCR Praque 2014

Pavement type selection is often one of the more challenging and controversial decisions highway administrators face. The process involves weighing engineering factors such as materials, structural, and even long term performance against initial and life-cycle costs to help agencies decide between various pavement alternatives. Given the expenditure of significant public monies invested in pavement construction and rehabilitation, concerns have arisen recently about the equity and effectiveness of the pavement type selection process, particularly in light of everincreasing needs, construction inflation, and dwindling resources to address the needs of the nation’s highways. In the United States, pavement type selection has been the subject of numerous publications over the last 50 years. This paper explores the history of pavement type selection in the U.S.; the guidance behind these practices; and a proposed pavement type selection process that attempts to include all possible and proper measures to ensure the taxpaying public receives full value of every highway dollar spent. This process considers pavement design equivalence, life cycle cost analysis, transparency, and most notably, the benefits that healthy competition between paving industries can provide.

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