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Forensic Evaluation of Cracking in Panels Adjacent to Panel Replacements 41 Forensic Evaluation of Cracking in Panels Adjacent to Panel Replacements on Interstate 5 in Washington State

By Linda M. Pierce, Jeff S. Uhlmeyer, Jim Weston and Keith W. Anderson


In 2003 the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) conducted pavement rehabilitation (dowel bar retrofit, diamond grinding and panel replacements) on a 42-year-old plain jointed concrete pavement that was 9 in. (230 mm) thick. Within 5 months of construc-tion, maintenance forces had placed temporary patches at six locations along the project length; by spring of 2005 the number of distressed locations had increased to 35 and by June 2006, construction estimates to replace the deficient panels ranged from $3.5 to $ 7.6 million. This paper summarizes the forensic investigation that ensued due to the rapid failure of the concrete pavement on this project. Though there appears to be no single cause of the rapid increase in panel cracking, the investigation identified a number of possible contributors that include: panel demolition/excavation methods, dowel bar drilling operations, construction equipment operating on panels supported by weak base or subgrade materials and dowel bar misalignment

Year: 2015
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