Evaluation of Composite Pavement Unbonded Overlays, Phases I and II (TR-478, Proj. 2)

Project Status


Start Date: 07/01/2001
End Date: 06/30/2002


Principal Investigator(s)


  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Iowa Highway Research Board


About the Research

In recent years, thin whitetopping has evolved as a viable rehabilitation technique for deteriorated asphalt cement concrete (ACC) pavements. Numerous projects have been constructed and tested; these projects allow researchers to identify the important elements contributing to the projects? successes. These elements include surface preparation, overlay thickness, synthetic fiber reinforcement usage, joint spacing, and joint sealing. Although the main factors affecting thin whitetopping performance have been identified by previous research, questions still existed as to the optimum design incorporating these variables. The objective of this research is to investigate the interaction between these variables over time. Laboratory testing and field-testing were planned in order to accomplish the research objective. Laboratory testing involved shear testing of the bond between the portland cement concrete (PCC) overlay and the ACC surface. Field-testing involved falling weight deflectometer deflection responses, measurement of joint faulting and joint opening, and visual distress surveys on the 9.6-mile project. The project was located on Iowa Highway 13 extending north from the city of Manchester, Iowa, to Iowa Highway 3 in Delaware County. Variables investigated included ACC surface preparation, PCC thickness, synthetic fiber reinforcement usage, and joint spacing. This report documents the planning, equipment selection, construction, field changes, and construction concerns of the project built in 2002. The data from this research could be combined with historical data to develop a design specification for the construction of thin, unbonded overlays.