Investigation of Longitudinal Cracking in Widened Concrete Pavements

Shuo Yang, Yang Zhang, Orhan Kaya, Halil Ceylan, Sunghwan Kim


Widened slabs, widely employed in many US states in concrete pavements, have suffered from unexpected longitudinal cracks. These cracks suddenly appeared within 0.60 m to 1.20 m from widened slab edges and could be detrimental to the long-term pavement performance. The primary objective of this study was to identify possible causes for such longitudinal cracking observed on widened concrete pavements. Both field investigation and Finite Element Analysis were performed. Degrees of curling and warping were measured using a Terrestrial Laser Scanner. Concrete cores were also extracted to achieve a better understanding of how the cracking had developed. Field survey and numerical simulation results indicate that such longitudinal cracks could be primarily caused by a combination of excessive traffic loads, a high degree of curling and warping, inadequate support from underlying layers, pavement ageing, and skewed joints. It was also found that 4.30 m widened slabs coupled with tied Portland Cement Concrete shoulders outperformed others in terms of producing less cracking, even when they had experienced higher levels of truck traffic. The sites constructed in late afternoons also showed significantly less longitudinal cracks.


curling and warping; field investigation; finite element analysis; longitudinal cracking; shoulder type; widened pavement

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DOI: 10.7250/bjrbe.2020-15.468


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