Selecting The Right Pavement Type

Selecting a pavement surface is typically a choice between asphalt concrete or Portland cement concrete. In many parts of the country, AC is the first choice. In the South, PCC is more common.

Pavement type selection has many factors:

  • The primary factor is initial cost of installation. Local material cost and engineered pavement design drive the costs.    
  • Availability of materials, Portland cement, asphalt cement, and aggregate vary from region to region. Having to transport materials will increase costs.  
  • Quality of soils and environmental factors. PCC may more cost-effectively bridge weak soils. Northern soils with harsh winters may perform better with an AC structure. 

A developer is concerned with initial costs. If an acceptable pavement can be constructed and make it through a due diligence review, the more profitable the shopping center development – future maintenance and rehabilitation costs are on the buyer and tenants.  

By identifying early pavement failures, the engineer can may a prediction on future pavement costs. Poor AC construction will show in early alligator cracking, potholes, and rutting. Thin PCC construction could result in divided slabs within a few weeks of construction.

We will be exploring pavement materials; designs; long-term performance and costs in future postings.

Zimmer Consultants photograph

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