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WHITE TOPPING: An Excellent Solution for Pavement Rehabilitation

Dr. V. Ramachandra, Zonal Head (Tech), UltraTech Cement Ltd., Bangalore

Concrete Roads were first built by Romans (300 BC – 476 AD). They were quite innovative in the construction with the use of innovative materials viz., use of concrete, admixtures in their primitive form (like animal fat, milk & blood). lead to the adage ‘all (concrete) roads lead to Romel.' ‘Pozzolana' cement from the village Pozzouli near Italy, horse hairs as fibres in These roads, scientifically designed and constructed had a long life and thus


Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) overlay on an existing pavement is commonly known as

topping. The principal purpose of an overlay is either to the
Dr. V. Ramachandra


restore or to increase the load carrying capacity or both, of existing pavement. In achieving this

overlays also restore the ride-ability of the existing in addition to rectifying other defects such as loss of texture. In our country,


pavements which have suffered rutting and deformations,

bituminous overlays have been popularly constructed in the past mainly due to

favourable cost economics of cement concrete and rapidly changing traffic scenario (in terms of volume as well as axle loads). petroleum industry is using refined processing technology leading to reduction in the production of bitumen leading to increased imports. in terms of volume and axle loads in addition to the comfort levels of construction methods among engineers. rapid developments in concrete material technology and mechanization (both in concrete production & its laying) are favouring concrete overlays as a sustainable option.abundant supply of bitumen.. It was also making economic sense to make bituminous pavements as it was relatively cheaper. India is currently producing about 240 million tonnes of cement shifting the focus on selection of overlays based on life-cycle costs rather than and cement industry is quite matured and equipped to meet the challenges in suitable for making Pavement Quality Concrete (PQC). terms of various grades of cements as well as high quality blended cements . In addition. its amenability to stage construction and manageable traffic conditions. In recent times PPP (Public-Private Partnership) models are becoming popular in road construction initial costs. In recent times all these advantages are reversed viz.

Bonding between overlay & underlying bituminous layer is mandatory.Overlay Solutions for Rehabilitation Type of overlays is chosen depending upon the condition of the existing pavement. concrete (M 40 or higher) is normally used to take care of flexure iii. (to a depth of 25 mm) or surface scrapped (with a non-impact scrapper) . to separate it from the concrete overlay (in order to avoid reflective Concrete overlays have been used to rehabilitate bituminous pavements since 1918 in USA. ii. it can only be regarded as a cracks). utilizing the flexural strength of flexible pavement as well. Joints are provided at a spacing of 0. a separation layer is provided. Ultra-Thin White topping (UTWT) – which has PCC overlay of less than 100 mm.25 m. particularly on Thin White Topping (TWT) and Ultra-Thin White Topping (UTWT) over thickness of overlay. Conventional White Topping. There has been a renewed interest in whitetopping. classification is as follows: i. base. To ensure this.6 to 1. which is designed & constructed without consideration of any bond between existing overlay & underlying bituminous layer (without assuming any composite action). the existing layer of bitumen is either milled or gently chiseled. This is due to the fact that the pavement system behaves as a pavement is good and the design will ensure that the thickness of overlay is composite structure. High strength requirement. Based on the types of interface provided and the Conventional White topping – which consists of PCC overlay of thickness 200 mm or more. In case the pavement is already deteriorated. Joints are at shorter spacing of 0. Thin White topping (TWT) – which has PCC overlay between 100 – 200 mm.25 m. Bonded overlays are preferred when the condition of existing relatively less.6 to 1. It is designed either considering bond between overlay & underlying bituminous layer or without consideration of bond.

Fast-Track construction – making use of innovations in concrete • technology & batch mixing. Concrete roads require lesser illumination during night . Improved service life – with better riding quality.Advantages of White topping • Reduced thickness – due to thickness of overlay remaining constant for over 2 decades. Cost-effective compared to asphalt overlays – when Life Cycle Cost is taken into consideration. • Reduced maintenance – as the concrete overlays live for over 2 decades. so as to open the road for traffic within 5 days of construction. particularly on city roads. improved fuel efficiency Little pre-overlay repairs • • • • Improvement in safety in view of the increased reflection of light – flexible pavements. concretes can be designed to have 3 –days' compressive (& flexural) strength. it would save 24% less electricity compared to Reduction in operational costs and lower absorption of solar energy • Improving the environmental benefits – as concrete roads are much greener and less polluting. with least maintenance. of vehicles.

In South India. 1 CBR 2 Commercial vehicles per day 3 Temp differential at Bangalore 4 Thickness of bituminous layer 5 Base (40 mm metal) thickness 6 7 8 9 Road width Length of road Concrete grade Axle load 8 to 10 1000 17.3 deg C 4 to 7 inches 4 to 9 inches 100 feet 350 m M 45 16 T . methods. concrete overlays on existing flexible pavement (white topping) have been constructed in recent years in Mumbai. Nagpur. the coastal roads in Kerala etc. these roads were converted to flexible overlays in recent times.Technology Demonstration Project In India. Indore among other places. Due to lack of experience and With a view to familiarize with the advantages of white topping. project was to demonstrate the advantages of white topping by making use of Characterisation of the existing flexible pavement on the trial stretch on Hosur Road in Bangalore yielded the following data. several new concrete roads were constructed during the last century which have given excellent service for over four decades. of Mysore. the examples being the Bangalore-Mysore road constructed by the then Maharaja expertise in white topping. Govt. Task Force for Quality Assurance. The objective of this the advances in construction equipments and Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). a Technology Demonstration Project was undertaken in Bangalore jointly by the Bruhat of Karnataka and Cement Manufacturers' Association.

.R.Design of Pavement and Concrete Mix Design of the overlay was carried out using Westergaard's Equation and (including temperature stress) was obtained as 30. Design was done by M/s L. Total stress corresponding flexural strength requirement was 4. New Delhi. with a w/c ratio of 0. and Concrete mix design was arrived at by evaluating trial mixes and the design mix was arrived at with a cement content of 430 kgs. achieving a slump of 40 – 60 mm at site. Using either fixed form or slip form mechanical pavers Strict quality control at site including testing of fresh. Fixed form paver provided by M/s Allen Buildwell Pvt Ltd. Production of concrete in a RMC plant or in a dedicated batching plant. Quality control at site and testing were jointly done by the Technical Services Surface preparation and alignment of rails for paver Paver machine in operation .283. hardened and extracted specimens of concrete and tests on pavement quality. Kadiyali & Associates. fly ash – 30 kgs.83 Kg/cm2 warping stress as per IRC:58 -2002 and IRC: SP: 76 – 2008. ii. team of UltraTech and M/s Civil Aid Technoclinic (P) Ltd. was used.. iii. i. Bangalore. three essential conditions need to be satisfied. In this project design and production of concrete was carried out by UltraTech RMC. Thickness of white topping was 150 mm.7 MPa. Details of Construction In order to achieve the desired advantages of concrete roads.

.Surface texturing on green concrete Spraying of curing compound on fresh concrete Salient features of Construction i. Profile correction is carried out with the objective of filling existing potholes. Profile correction and correction of camber can be carried out together with a thin bituminous leveling course or with dry lean concrete (DLC). Surface preparation: In case of TWT. This can be for a depth of 10 mm and carried out with not damaged. in case of UTWT. if the existing surface is hard. bond between PCC overlay & existing bituminous pavement is atleast partly desirable. so that the sub-grade is Chiselling of the surface at regular intervals. tools which have vertical impact control. To ensure this any of the following method can be adopted. Thickness of milling usually is in the range of 25 to 50 mm. ruts and wide cracks and also to ensure a level surface for resting the pavement. o Milling the existing bituminous surface to obtain a uniform surface. ii. o The minimum thickness of existing bituminous pavement (excluding the milled/scrapped thickness) shall be 75 – 100 mm to ensure a reliable & strong base. o Surface scrapping is carried out on bituminous surfaces which are quite hard. Milling can be used to remove surface distortion like cracks in the top portion and adjust cross slopes. effective bond is essential.

pavement. After the bull float operation. To avoid evaporation of surface water from concrete surface (which leads to plastic shrinkage cracks). concrete should be made either in an RMC plant or in a weigh batching plant. If potholes/ cracks are wider than 3 mm. they have to be treated with bituminous emulsion. But to Groove cutting in progress achieve uniform finish. levelling. In the used with a fixed side formwork (steel current project. shape and cleaning out loose fragments with compressed air. Use of either Laying of PQC is quite similar to the construction of new concrete fixed form pavers or slip form paver machines is an essential ingredient for getting a good quality pavement. As mentioned earlier. b.2 m in longitudinal as well as transverse directions. plastic sheets are spread over the pavement surface till normal curing process starts. If the existing road surface is good & only a few localized potholes / cracks exist. iii. Finishing of the surface is mostly achieved by the paver itself. spaced with variable rpm and three integral steel tubes with 8 Tonnes ii. slurry seal after trimming them to Milling of the existing surface also addresses this problem. wax based curing compound is sprayed. a fixed form paver was channel box section) with 16mm diameter steel rods of 1 m length as tie rods @ 500mm c/c) and the paver had gang mounted vibrators equally vibratory rollers for screeding. As an additional measure. Contraction joints are provided by cutting groves (for a depth of one- third of the depth of white topping. i. 150 mm in this case) at a spacing of using electrical grove machines within about 8 to 10 hours of pouring 1. a simple hand operated bull float is used when concrete is still in its fresh state. These joints are sealed with high quality sealant (either infiltration into the overlay system. The joints are cut concrete. bitumen or poly sulphides) to prevent moisture and incompressible . iv.a. compaction and finishing. they can be repaired with a bituminous mix before concreting is done. uniform surface texture is provided by using steel wire brush.

4 Avg: 43.1 Avg: 22.2 Min: 48. and the results obtained so far are tabulated.8 No.2 Min: 57. To ensure effective load transfer across the longitudinal segments as well as transverse construction joints. flexural strength of concrete beams Fatigue and abrasion tests on pavement quality (results awaited). Bangalore after 5 days of curing. but carried out.4 Avg: 61. Test Results Strict quality control not only during mix design and production of concrete.4 Avg: 51.2 7-day strength (MPa) Max: 55.1 Min: 21. These tests included: • • also testing for quality at regular intervals (for every 50 cum of concrete) was Tests conducted on fresh concrete (slump test at site) Tests on hardened state (compressive strength of cube & cylinder specimens for 1. of samples 936) One-day strength (MPa) Max: 24. 7 & 28 days). tie bars and dowel bars are provided.2 Min: 38. to assess the long term performance of concrete.v. split tensile strength. 3.02 28 – day strength (MPa) Max: 67.. Sample size 60 cubes per test . • • Test on extracted specimens of concrete (core tests) would be conducted All the above tests are conducted by Civil Aid Technoclinic (P) Ltd. The road was opened for traffic Compressive Strength of Concrete Cubes (Total no.05 3-day strength (MPa) Max: 48.

of forward to adopt this technology. academic & Max: 7. On samples 60) behalf of the cement industry. of samples 60) spectrum viz. Sample 28– day strength size (MPa) (Cement Manufacturers' Association) Max: 4. technical consultants.35 60 per Min: 6. No. (and comparative cost). Sample size 60 per test 28 – day strength (MPa) Max: 61.. concrete and fast roads track and Compressive Strength of Concrete Cylinders (Total no.01 60 per test Min: 2. of samples 60) No. evoked This technology demonstration project in Bangalore response from people across the has positive Flexural strength of Concrete (Total no. conducting training programs for engineers and . BBMP and Split Tensile strength of other civic agencies have come Concrete (Total no. design and estimation of quantities providing the necessary technical assistance. Sample 28 – day strength size (MPa) construction industry.3 Government of Karnataka. user-friendly software for analysis.2 research institutions.92 has come forward to assist all those Avg: 3.Conclusions Due to advances in the area of mechanization construction.45 white topping provide a sustainable as well as cost effective option for pavement construction. CMA No. The test Avg: 6.36 involved in the construction on concrete roads/ white topping by way of several useful publications.4 Min: 43.7 Avg: 52.

com . 2010 on Cement Concrete Roads. The Indian Roads Congress.nbmcw. The Indian Concrete Journal.References • Concrete Overlays – White topping of roads. USA. IRC: SP: 76 – 2008. thin and Ultra-thin white topping. 2008 Handbook Association. New Delhi. Guide to Concrete Overlays – Sustainable solutions for resurfacing and Technology Centre. 2010 Tentative guidelines for conventional. Cement Manufacturers Association. Sept. National Concrete • Pavement NBMCW March 2011 Courtesy : http://www. Selection and use of concrete overlays. Ayers & Dale Harrington. 2008. May 2010 rehabilitating existing pavements. Cement Manufacturers • • • Michael E.