What happens when the base of a road fails? You can expect to see cracks spreading rapidly, for one. These cracks will often compound into a variety of other distresses, resulting in severe raveling and the formation of potholes. Soon the roadway conditions become undrivable and even dangerous. Expensive reconstruction is the only option.
Deflection testing is the process by which the structural strength of a road’s base is measured. By understanding the strength of a pavement base, a municipality can have a better idea of the future rate of deterioration on that street. This leads to better condition and budget projections as well as more accurate rehabilitation plans.
With billions of tax dollars being spent around the country on maintaining pavement infrastructure it is important to know how to spot a road in need of repair, before those repairs become critical and expensive. Some road rehabilitations are far cheaper than others and can help prolong a pavement segment’s lifespan while sensibly optimizing a city’s budget.
The most important things to recognize when doing a visual survey of a street are the types and quantities of pavement distresses that are present. The distresses measured can reflect the rehabilitation method that is best suited for each road segment. They can also provide a glimpse into the future condition of a roadway if it does not receive any rehab treatment. So, what are the different types of pavement distresses and how do they impact the overall lifespan and cost of rehabilitating a road?