Instrumentation and Overall Evaluation of Perpetual and Conventional Flexible Pavement Designs
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The perpetual structural pavement design is currently being explored for usage in Canada and worldwide. This thick structural design can provide many potential benefits but it also has associated costs. Cold Canadian winters and warm summers impact pavement performance and make pavement design challenging. This is further complicated by a heavy dependence on trucks to transport imports and exports. Consequently, most Canadian roads are subjected to rapid deterioration due to high fatigue stresses and rapid growth of the traffic loads. The concept of a perpetual pavement design was raised to overcome the limitation of structural capacity of the conventional pavement designs. The concept of perpetual pavement was explained and introduced in this thesis and the benefits behind the perpetual pavement construction were studied. The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) and the Centre for Pavement and Transportation Technology (CPATT) joined their efforts in partnership with Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association (OHMPA), Stantec Consultant, McAsphalt and others to construct three test sections on the Highway 401. The goal was to monitor and evaluate the performance of three different pavement structural designs. Performance evaluation of test section was performed by evaluating the expected ability of pavement section to withstand the traffic loads and climate impact throughout the design life of that pavement section with minimum damage. The minimum damage is expressed as low vertical pressure on top of subgrade, low shear stresses in the surface course and low tensile strain at the bottom of asphalt layers. Perpetual pavement design with Rich Bottom Mix (RBM) layer, perpetual pavement design without RBM and a conventional pavement design were constructed and instrumented with various types of sensors. These are capable of monitoring the tensile strain in asphalt layers, vertical pressure on the subgrade surface, moisture in the subgrade material and the temperature profile in the pavement sections. The test section construction, sensor installation and preliminary modeling are all part of this thesis. Preliminary structural evaluation was performed by analyzing the three designs using a Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) model representing the three pavement designs constructed on the Highway 401. In addition, the WESLEA for Windows software was used to validate the long life performance of the perpetual pavement design. Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) was also performed for the perpetual and conventional pavement designs to evaluate the cost benefits associated with pavement designs for 70 year analysis period. In addition, the perpetual Pavement design philosophy for moderate and low traffic volume roads was also examined in this research. This pavement design involved creating a complete comparison and validation of the benefits of using perpetual asphalt pavements versus the conventional pavements in all road types and traffic categories. Structural evaluation of the pavement sections in moderate and low traffic volume roads was performed. In addition, LCCA was implemented to validate the perpetual and conventional structural pavement designs in moderate and low traffic volume roads.