When it comes to America’s roadways, the preeminent authorities have long supported the use of precast concrete for soundwalls, MSE walls, bridges, and underground infrastructure. However, precast is beginning to take on a new role as a product for the roadway itself. Never has the profile of Precast Concrete Pavement Systems (PCPS) been higher, which has led to the creation of a panel co-sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NHCRP).
NPCA has been invited to join the panel for an international tour to review the use of PCPS in four to five countries to gain insight into the ways other countries are doing PCPS systems. The international scan will spend two weeks in May and June 2011 and then convene to write a formal report meant to benchmark foreign technical and managerial practices for the benefit of the U.S. public and private sector
Interest in PCPS has grown rapidly in the U.S. as it allows for quick repair, rehabilitation, and construction of roadways by completing much of the work in a precast plant before a roadway is closed. The organizers of the tour believe the opportunity to gain the expertise and knowledge of international counterparts will only elevate the profile and adoption of PCPS.
The goals of the committee are:
• Determine the criteria used to decide whether a project is a suitable candidate for use of PCPS;
• Examine design methods and construction techniques;
• Examine construction performance and long-term structural performance related data on PCPS;
• Examine short-term and long-term ride quality of PCPS installations;
• Identify obstacles to deployment of PCPS;
• Employ strategies to advance widespread acceptance and implementation by both agencies and industry – and, determine what has worked;
• Collect information on the various PCPS – including how are they designed, fabricated and cured, shipped and constructed, and the advantages of each;
• Examine some of the more advanced PCPS features (such as PCPS with a porous surface; “heated” PCPS; and prestressed PCPS);
• Gather long-term performance data on PCPS applications/treatments for rigid pavements;
• Examine concrete mixture design and properties;
• Examine load transfer mechanisms;
• Collect information on the use of both cement and polymer-based grout materials;
• Collect information on the use of high-density polyurethane products for stabilized bedding and under-sealing materials;
• Examine steel reinforcement requirements;
• Collect information on materials handling;
• Collect information on lifting devices employed; and
• Develop standards to facilitate increased industry competition.