If you’ve ever driven on a road that is past its prime, you know how quickly road repairs and replacements can become urgent. Potholes, cracks and uneven driving surfaces can lead to unsafe driving conditions, vehicular damage and driver frustration.
Until recently, road replacement required extended lane closures. That’s all beginning to change, though, thanks to precast concrete pavement systems (PCPS). On Jan. 10, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) held a PCPS Showcase in DeLand, Fla. to highlight the benefits of using PCPSs.
The FHWA and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) are also championing PCPSs as part of their Technology and Implementation Group’s Highways for Life program.
Through an innovative use of precast panels, several proprietary systems across the country have gained ground. Each is unique, but the general concept is the same:
- Evaluate the project site and design the slabs;
- Casting and curing slabs off-site before any road repair begins;
- Remove and replace sections of damaged roadway in sections that can be completed in one day, during off-peak traffic hours;
- Deliver, install and level the precast slabs using a crane and various leveling methods;
- Reopen the road to traffic in as little as 15 minutes following placement – usually with no interference to rush-hour traffic;
- Repeat the process until the project is completed.
The greatest advantage of a PCPS is its ability to meet municipalities’ traffic mitigation goals. A PCPS virtually eliminates road closures and the countless headaches of motorists, DOT officials and road crews. In addition, the quality and durability provide a lifespan in excess of 50 years thanks to production in controlled environments.
For a more in-depth look at PCPSs check out this story from the spring issue of Precast Solutions, a column from the latest issue of Precast Solutions, and our blog post about a worldwide PCPS tour co-sponsored by FHWA, AASHTO, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. To find precast plants in your area, click on the “Find a Precaster or Associate” button on our home page.