Volume 38, Issue 4 (July 2010)
Network Level Testing for Pavement Structural Evaluation Using a Rolling Wheel Deflectometer
Structural evaluation can be very useful at the network level of pavement management for project prioritization purposes. However, due to expenses involved in data collection and analysis, pavements are not tested for structural capacity at the network level. Rolling wheel deflectometer (RWD), which measures surface deflections at highway speed, is an alternate, faster method of pavement deflection testing for network level data collection. This study was initiated to assess the feasibility of using RWD for network level pavement deflection measurements. RWD deflection data was collected under an 80-kN axle load and at about highway speed on non-interstate highways in northeast Kansas in July 2006. Falling-wheel deflectometer (FWD) data on these roads, collected from 1998 to 2006, were also used for comparison. The computed effective structural numbers from both FWD and RWD deflection data were compared. The results show that the deflections measured by RWD and the center (first sensor) deflections from FWD are statistically similar. The effective structural numbers computed from the FWD and RWD deflection measurements are also statistically similar. Thus RWD appears to be a valuable tool for structural capacity evaluation of pavements at the network level.