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Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement
By Prof. B. E. Gite, Mr. Yogesh S. Nagare Amrutvahini College of Engineering, Sangamner Abstract “Continuously reinf orced concrete pavement” as the title suggests this type of pavement is reinf orced throughout in longitudinal direction. T his type of pavement has no transverse joints unless and until there is end of pavement or the pavement comes in contact with some other pavement or bridge. A longitudinal joint exists only if the road is wider than 14 f eet. Due to reduction of joints smooth and continuous riding is possible resulting in f uel saving. Also CRCP roads are maintenance f ree if properly constructed and care is taken while placement of steel. Once CRCP roads are constructed they need not to be taken care of f or the next 50-60 years. T he principal behind this roads is that “Let the road crack”, exactly opposite as in case of other type of roads where we avoid crack f ormation at any cost. CRCP is allowed to crack due to which stresses in the pavement are released. T he cracks f ormed are held tightly by the reinf orcement, due to which widening and deepening of cracks is restricted. Hence we can conclude that in CRCP controlled cracking is permitted. T he initial cost of CRCP is high, but as it is maintenance f ree, and lasts f or decades, overall cost of CRCP is less as compared to other type of reinf orced concrete pavements. Study and observations have shown that this type of roads are alarmingly successf ul, hence CRCP is widely used in USA, GERMANY, BRITAN, and several other developed and developing nations. Use of CRCP will enhance the cement, and steel industries; it will reduce the f uel consumption by vehicles, and will save lots of money required f or f requent construction and repairs of other type of pavements. 1. INT RODUCT ION Transport is a vital inf rastructure f or rapid economic growth of the country. Speedy transportation of natural resources (such as raw materials), f inished goods and perishable materials to all parts of the country including the points of export outlets are basic inputs to economic growth. Recently there has been a major shif t in transportation mode f rom Railways towards the Road sector. Now a day’s about 60% of f reight and 80% of passenger transport is met by Road transport in India, which demonstrates the need f or development of a good road network. In India f lexible pavement (bitumen) is most common f or both national and state highways. Majority of roads are also built with conventional bitumen pavements considering its lower initial cost, though the lif e cycle cost of these pavements are very high compared to rigid pavements due to f requent repairs and also need f or complete resurf acing at interval of 4-5 years. Further f uel consumption of vehicles is much higher on this type of pavement than that on rigid pavement. In advanced countries rigid pavement is increasingly being used due to large number of benef its it of f ers. Considering durability of concrete pavements some portion of Delhi – Mathura and Mumbai – Pune expressway was built with jointed concrete pavement. Continuously reinf orced concrete pavement, (CRCP) eliminates the need f or transverse joints (other than at bridges and other structures) and keep cracks tight, resulting in a continuous, smooth-riding surf ace that is virtually maintenance f ree.

T he whole idea of CRCP is based essentially on the “so-let-it-crack” philosophy rather than the dif f icult concept of avoiding cracks at any price. wet or dry—f eatures which make concrete. a permanent road surf acing material. Provides stif f ness by restraining end movement 1. cracks which occur will normally widen and get progressively worse under the ef f ects of traf f ic and climatic conditions.e. T he amount of reinf orcement required to control the cracking is relatively smaller f or shorter spans.1 What is CRCP? In concrete pavement the longitudinal reinf orcing steel is continuous throughout the pavement length. high structural strength. It is a joint less concrete pavement suf f iciently reinf orced to control cracking. . In an unreinf orced slab. T he principle in CRCP is to conf ine random cracking to acceptable spacing and crack widths so that the slab perf orms the same as if no crack exists. requiring extensive repairs and early surf acing to restore the smooth surf ace. smooth-riding surf ace that is virtually maintenance-f ree. spalling and cracking and blow-ups develop . As length of the slab increases amount of steel needed also increases. without the aid of weakened transverse joints such as are used in ordinary or conventional type of jointed concrete pavement. leading to f aulting . nonskid surf ace and good visibility at night. and especially continuously reinf orced concrete.1. i.2. Reinf orced bars in the concrete are lapped to f orm continuous reinf orcement holding the pavement together in all kinds of weather and preventing f ormation of large cracks that would otherwise reduce the service lif e of the pavement. resulting in a continuous. In CRCP reinf orcement steel is an important element and it of f ers the f ollowing f unctions: 1. equal def lection at cracks and the mid span of the slab. Facilitates load transf er across cracks 3. During the contraction of the concrete f ine dirt enters the wide cracks . Holds crack tight 2. Its design eliminates the need f or transverse joints (other than at bridges and other structures) and keep cracks tight. CRCP has all the good f eatures of concrete pavements such as durability. Definitions and Characteristics of CRCP Continuously reinf orced concrete pavement (CRCP) is concrete pavement reinf orced with continuous steel bars throughout its length.

2.2 Crack Width: T he limit on crack width is based on a consideration of spalling and water inf iltration. 2. 2.1m.1.1 Design Aspects: T he volume changes stresses in CRCP will be taken care by providing suf f icient reinf orcement to keep the cracks tightly closed while maintaining adequate pavement thickness to counteract the stresses produced by wheel loads. T he spacings of transverse cracks that occur in CRCP is an important variable that directly af f ect the behavior of the pavement.2. To minimize the potential of punch outs. To hold unplanned longitudinal cracks that may occur tightly closed. 2. Transverse reinf orcements are usef ul to support the longitudinal steel when the steel is preset prior to concrete placement. .1 Crack Spacing: T he limits on crack spacing are based on the possibility of spalling and punch outs. 2. 2. T he amount of longitudinal reinf orcing bars is generally between 0.T he optimum amount of steel reinf orcement is selected in CRCP so that crack spacing lies between 1. T he longitudinal reinf orcement in CRCP is used to control the f ine transverse cracks that f orm due to volume changes in the concrete. DESIGN CONSIDERAT IONS 2.2.7% and it may be more where weather conditions are severe and also the temperature dif f erentials are more.2 Steel Stress: T he limiting stress of 75% of the ultimate tensile strength is recommended.2.1m to 2.1.5% and 0. CRCP allows the concrete to develop very f ine transverse cracks that seem to be uncontrolled and random. T he maximum desirable crack spacing is derived f rom a correlation between crack spacing and incidence of spalling. the maximum spacing between consecutive cracks should be limited to 2.0mm and steel stress does not exceed 75% of the ultimate tensile strength.0mm. AASHT O Design Nomographs and Equation are available f or determining the percentage of longitudinal reinf orcement to satisf y the criteria of crack spacing.2 Longitudinal Reinforcing Bars: T hese are the main reinf orcement in CRCP. Maximum crack spacing is derived f rom consideration of ef f ect of slab length on the f ormation of punch-out. the longitudinal bars are tied or clipped to the transverse steel at specif ied locations. T he f unction of steel is to hold the random cracks tightly closed.3 Transverse Reinforcing Bars: T he f unction of the bars is as f ollows: 1. the minimum desirable crack spacing is about 1. the crack width is less than 1. T he total area of longitudinal reinf orcing bars required usually is stated as a percentage of the cross-sectional area of the pavement. And hence the thickness requirement is less compared to JPCP. Relatively large distances between cracks result in high steel stresses at the crack and in excessive crack widths. to provide structural continuity and to minimize the penetration of potentially damaging surf ace water and incompressible. Transverse reinf orcement may be lesser grade. Based on experience. T he crack width should be reduced as much as possible through the selection of higher steel percentage or smaller diameter reinf orcing bars. 2.4m to minimize spalling. A decrease in crack spacing reduces the steel stresses and crack widths.2. When used f or this purpose. CRCP allows the use of slightly smaller load transf er co-ef f icient compared to JPCP. To support the longitudinal bars and hold them at the specif ied spacing.1 Steel Reinforcement: T he amount and depth of longitudinal reinf orcing steel are the most important aspects of steel reinf orcement in CRCP as it af f ects transverse crack spacing and the width of the cracks.4m. As per AASHT O stipulation the allowable crack width should not exceed 1. crack width and steel stress respectively.

Grade of steel: Fe 415 3. . Concrete grade: M40 2.2.69% long – 16mm @ 140mm c/c Trans – 12 mm@ 600 mm c/c 0.1: Comparison of Different Types of Pavements for Highways Item Design Code Total pavement thickness (mm) Grade of concrete Spacing of contraction joints Steel reinf orcement Flexible Pavement IRC-37 800 JPCP IRC-58 675 British-HD 26/94. Design Lif e -> (a) 20 years f or Flexible pavement (b) 30 years f or Rigid pavements.section 2 625 CRCP AASHT O’93 610 - M40 4. 2. Dif f erence between mean temperatures of the slab at the time of construction and coldest period = 30°C (Assuming 35°C at the time of construction and 5°C at coldest period) Table No. Maximum temperature dif f erential between top and bottom of Slab = 21°C (T he maximum value f or India as per IRC 58) 4.57% long – 16 mm @ 140mm c/c Trans – 12 mm @ 600mm c/c Durability Saving in Fuel Maintenance World experience Construction Expertise in the country Corrosion problem Poor (5-6 years) High Poor perf ormance Easy Very large No Long (>30 years) 10-20% Very less Very good reports.7.3 Typical Design of CRCP: T he f ollowing parameters are considered f or design: 1. 2.vol.25 m M40 - M40 - - Only at joints occasionally thin mesh in top surf ace Long (>30 years) 10-20% Less Good reports Special care is needed Yes R/F at joints needs protection 0. all states have started using CRCP More special care needed Yes No corrosion problem.Part3. 4500 km in USA. Traf f ic Density ->(a) 5000 Vehicles/day on 4-lane road For Rigid Pavements: 1.

the base must be f inished to ensure a unif orm roadbed f or the reinf orcement supports and construction equipment.3. Use of CRCP is widespread in the world. T he base must ensure proper drainage to the slab base interf ace and be non-erodible to limit the potential of punch-outs. • Belgium built its f irst CRCP section in 1950. T he use of CRCP is recommended f or urban and rural-area highways. First. Other f avorable f actors are a better long-term perf ormance and longevity of pavement smoothness. as well as. As with any other type of pavement. as well as. Initial costs are hef tier due to the reinf orcement but these costs are similar to those f or a conventional pavement af ter 10 to 15 years according to the World Road Association (PIARC). A suf f icient amount of supports will prevent any collapsing under a 250kg load. to date. Construction of CRCP: Construction of CRCP is similar to that of other concrete pavement types. Planning and execution are crucial since errors made during these stages can be detrimental to the overall success of the project. it has over 600 lane-kilometers. Several projects were conducted since then to arrive at the current design. especially in the United States and Europe. the carrying out of the construction joints. T his country has made extensive use of this type of concrete pavement since 1970. MET HODOLOGY CRCP is characterized by the presence of a continuous steel reinf orcement set into the cement and by the omission of transverse joints other than construction and terminal joints Instead of being concentrated in the contraction joints as is the case with JPCP. several rehabilitation projects underway. T his represents savings in maintenance costs but also direct savings f or users. 3. especially where there is high-volume traf f ic and great number of trucks. or af ter 15 to 18 years according to Belgian experts. T he aim sought is a great number of cracks f ine enough to limit the penetration of de-icing salts and to ensure proper aggregate interlock which leads to a higher load transf er ef f iciency. Several road tests were conducted during the 1940s and 1950s. A permeable base f ully satisf ies these criteria. volumetric changes (due to temperature and moisture) result in the development of a large number of evenly distributed hairline cracks appearing at random. One of the main arguments f or the use of this type of slab is that it requires little or no maintenance. T he participants of the 2001 Québec Tour in Belgium had the opportunity to witness f irst-hand this country’s know how in the area of concrete pavement. Today. . over 50 000 kilometers of highway lanes have been built in CRCP. It is interesting to note that this country uses CRCP not only on its highways but also on its country roads and national highways. It is important to pay special attention to certain details such as the selection and installation of the reinf orcement. the transverse reinf orcement bars are manually placed on metal supports by teams of steel f ixers. T heir design must be in accordance with the concrete cover specif ications. and so f orth. T he amount of longitudinal reinf orcement is determined so as to control cracking and to ensure structural continuity of the pavement. to provide a unif orm slab thickness. • France has used CRCP since 1983 and. • T he United States f irst used this concrete pavement in 1921.1.

it is recommended that longitudinal reinf orcement be placed on the upper third section of the slab to limit crack openings. Surveys conducted in certain American states concluded that a wide-f lange beam provides a cost-ef f ective method f or accommodating end movements. Our will to improve our practices and the various steps taken to meet the abovementioned objectives are insuf f icient unless a genuine f eedback process such as f ield visits f or data collection on pavement perf ormance is implemented. saw cutting of the longitudinal joints and sealing) resemble to that of other slab types. spacing and width) and smoothness. measurements have been conducted in November 2003. A result may lead to the rejection. anchors made of f ixed beams embedded in the base are used. T he Belgians noted incidents of slab blow-ups (9) at construction joint mainly due to the poorer quality of concrete resulting f rom a delayed or inadequate vibratory compaction on one or both sides of the joint. texturing. modif ication or standardization of a new technique. the recommended overlap is 25 to 35 bar diameters. just bef ore opening to traf f ic af ter reconstruction and in 2002. A suf f icient amount of concrete cover above the reinf orcement is necessary to prevent any corrosion. 3. If tied. T he use of bridge expansion joints is also acceptable. Certain monitored parameters such as smoothness and skid resistance were the object of extensive measures on the entire section of the CRCP. A pavement perf ormance study started in 2000 and 2003 on the f irst two CRCP projects carried out by MT Q. Concrete placement f or the CRCP is similar to that of the conventional pavement. Figure 4 shows pavement placement achieved with a slip f orm paver. T he f ree ends of CRCP are exposed to movements mainly caused by temperature dif f erentials. Performance of the CRCP: A provincial long-term perf ormance program was implemented at MT Q in 1992. just bef ore opening to traf f ic. T his article will f ocus on the parameters specif ic to CRCP such as cracking (rate. at least two series of detailed measures have been carried out: in 2000. A minimum spacing of 150 mm between the reinf orcement bars is recommended to ensure adequate steel cover. Generally.Longitudinal reinf orcement bars are placed on the transverse ones and then tied to the latter. within a grand tour of all the road test sections in the Greater Montreal Area. Figure 3 shows the plan of work and a picture of an anchorage beam.2. In Belgium. T he longitudinal bars may be welded to one another or tied. T he overlaps are usually of f set f rom one lane to the next to ensure they are not all in the same cross section. Tie-bars should be placed in longitudinal construction joints to keep slab edges together on either side the joint. T he survey includes: • Distress mapping on the 150-m sections and general survey of the entire CRCP projects • Measurements of crack openings and end joints • Measurements of longitudinal prof ile (smoothness) • Measurements of transversal prof ile (ruts) • Coring and sampling • Measurements of def lections on the slab and at joint edges • Measurements of skid resistance and macro texture • Measurements of salt penetration levels in the concrete (Highway only) • Measurements of steel corrosion potential (Highway only) To date on Highway. Desirable results are dependent on the f ollowing f actors: vibrator adjustment to avoid contact with the reinf orcement bars and concrete workability to ensure adequate steel cover. Its main objectives are to improve pavement lif e and perf ormance as well as to optimize the use of the f unds allocated to the construction and maintenance of the road network. On Highway. It is at this stage that our methods must be validated. Two 150-m long sections per project are being closely monitored. Special attention must be paid when f orming the transverse construction joints when concrete placement is completed at the end of the day. curing. Levels of salt penetration in the concrete are measures that can be usef ul in the evaluation of the ef f iciency of the concrete to protect reinf orcement against corrosion. . Systems are installed at each end to restrict the movements f rom the last 100 meters of the slab. T he phases subsequent to the placement of CRCP (f inishing.

3. something that will have to be closely monitored in the months to come. 60 % in the 0. and anything beyond that may bring about a penalty. Another measurement was taken in June 2003 at a temperature of 37o C. CRACKING: Cracking rates were obtained by compiling the crack lengths using mapping measure f rom test sections.5o C) were 0. the cracking rates are 0. On Highway . the irregularity of the longitudinal prof ile in the wheel paths compared to a perf ectly smooth ref erence surf ace. T he 0.8 m range. 30 months af ter reconstruction. Af terwards f or Highway . Approximately 9% of the spacings were in the range of 0. However. T hese mean cracking rates are similar to the minimum allowable crack width criteria used f or the design of the reinf orcement of Highway (1. the IRI values of two of the three lanes with JPCP are higher than those of CRCP.6 m.183. T he index used by MT Q to rate the smoothness is the IRI (International Roughness Index). the progression remains signif icant yet less markedly so.1. T he mean values f or the entire three lanes of Highway are also presented on the same f igure.055 mm f or a mean of 0. calculations were made using the June 2002 mapping measurements. To verif y this result in terms of the ef f ective crack spacing on site.4. During the f irst winter season. that is. Note that a surf ace rated 1. the CRCP has not revealed any damage whatsoever.mm). we observed a slight increase in the f irst winter.057 and 0.2 is the allowable limit indicated in the specif ications. For a paved surf ace. three crack-width measurements were made using a so-called comparative method.8 to 3-m range and 8% were over 3 m. 0. T here was a 0. 0 being a perf ectly smooth surf ace. Figure 6 shows the mean IRI values in the three lanes f or the entire sector in CRCP f or Highway (2 km) and f or a JPCP section (1.5 to 0.5 f eet). that is f our months af ter opening to traf f ic.1-mm value reported is very similar to that published by the Belgians f or temperatures oscillating between -1o C and 19o C . A certain proportion of the crack spacing is inf erior to design limit values. Immediately af ter reconstruction of Highway. T he crack widths taken between spring (17.83 and 0.2.89 m/m2 respectively f or sections 1 and 2 of Highway . On Highway . the rate of cracking is similar f or the f our test sections. to date. T he cracking rates are presented per 150-m section and represent the mean rate of the three lanes and the lef t shoulder f or Highway and of the three lanes f or Highway.1-mm dif f erence with the winter opening measurement.07 m or 3. . T hree years later. grinding was f orbidden f or values up to 1. there is little change in the smoothness of the CRCP whereas there is a 0. 20% in the 0.2 to 0.5o C) and winter (22. the scale ranges f rom 0 to 12.2. T he results shown in f igure 5 are expressed in m/m2.2 Smoothness: A prof ile survey to evaluate the pavement’s smoothness.2 increase in the values of the JPCP.5 km) immediately adjacent to the CRCP section. For Highway. which is f ar lower than the width specif ied in the design (1.8 so this was not the case f or Highway .098 mm.

E. Soojun Ha b.com are thankful to Prof. 4. Concrete roads f acilitate increased speed and thereby savings in time and money. Nagare for submitting their research paper on “Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement” to us.Nirav Shah Siddharth. Concentrations of CO and NOX are expected to reduce by around 70 % and 45% respectively. Seongcheol Choi a. CRCP gives additional design lif e of at least 10 years. 9. lubricants etc. By seong-min kim “ef f ect of bond stesses & slip model f or continuously reinf orce concrete pavements. Air and noise environment improve along the thickly populated existing corridor. Gite and Mr. Joint less concrete pavement. 2. Considering durability and maintenance f ree service of CRCP it is desirable to construct all these concrete roads with CRCP. Yogesh S. less dislocations to traf f ic movement and substantial saving in vehicle operating cost comprising reduced consumption of f uel. 3. Savings in f uel to the extent of 20%. 10. CONCLUSION 1. T MT.K. T here’s no need to worry about ruts. T he demerit of CRCP is its high initial cost & dif f iculty in repair works required to be done if not constructed properly. Use of CRCP drastically can reduce import of bitumen there by leading to saving of f oreign currency. Further. CRCP of f ers excellent smooth Riding surf ace f or the vehicles that maximizes the comf ort f or the passengers. It needs minimum cost of maintenance and rehabilitation. Nautiyal Vinayraj. REFERENCES 1. 5. We are sure this will be very helpful to the ones looking for information on Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavements. Corrosion resistant T MT bars may be used in corrosion prone areas. T hermo mechanically treated. We at engineeringcivil. 4. National Seminar on Concrete Roads & pavements. it of f ers much better riding quality. bars are desirable f or CRCP pavement. 8. B. 7. . shoving ef f ects common with asphalt pavement. A. Brajendra Singh.Vivek Sahay “In Partial Fulf ilment of the requirements of the course Inf rastructure Development and Financing”. T he noise level would reduce substantially. Concrete can withstand even the heaviest traf f ic loads. It minimizes the detrimental dynamic loads that are applied to the vehicles and pavement. may be considered ultimately reducing the vehicle operating cost.E J Yoder “Concrete Roads Alternate Construction Methods”. Moon C.4. Compared to f lexible pavement. 6. Studies have even shown that this can increase truck f uel ef f iciency. “Principles of Pavement Design”. Almost maintenance f ree service reduces traf f ic disturbances and thus reduces man-hour loss to the road users. 2. Concrete’s hard surf ace makes it easier f or rolling wheels.Amrut Nashikkar. 3. Wonc “Horizontal cracking of continuously reinf orced concrete pavement Sunder environmental loadings.

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